Saturday, 2 August 2014

2nd August 1814: George Coldham updates the Home Office about recent framebreaking & requests troops

Nottingham 2d August 1814

Dear Sir,

Had not the hurry of the Assizes intervened I [wld] have written to you much sooner on the subject of the Resumption of the Practice of Framebreaking in the Town accompanied as it has been with circumstances of peculiar aggravation. Before the Men contrived to steal in to the House now they have broken in by force before they went in assembled a very small party silently in [the] last Instance they went in great force & with considerable noise. The Magistrates on the very morning after the Destruction of Frames in the Town called upon the People of the House in which the Frames were to account for the Destruction of the Frames & examined them in the strict manner without Detecting the least Evidence of their Connivance at the Destruction of the Frames. I hope in this Instance as the Entrance into the Houses was accomplished before & by a violent Mob that the Extent of the Property Destroyed can be secured against the Town. as such a circumstance would be productive of good consequence.

As Secretary to the Secret Committee I have been Directed to apply to the Magistrates for a Regiment of Infantry to be stationed in the Town & I have in consequence of that application been Directed by the Mayor & Aldermen to apply to Lord Sidmouth to request that he would have the Goodness in consequence of the late occurrences to give Orders that we should be furnished with that species of force for the Protection of the Publick Peace. You will have the Kindness to represent this application to Lord Sidmouth on the part of the Magistrates of Nottingham & of the Committee of Manufacturers & I have no Doubt of his Lordship's Attention thereto. As I have understood that the Sentence of the Magistrates upon Gibson & Judd has been considered too lenient & ask a [illegible] from me or the Committee of Hosiers I think it only proper to state to you that this Sentence was the Act of the Magistrates quite independent of my advice & still more independent of the Secret Committee or their Counsel. I attended this Conviction as the Solicitor of the Secret Committee or if Messrs Ray it was therefore impossible that I could act in two [Corporations]. It has been egregiously stated that the Sentence produced was the lowest which could be awarded whereas in truth the Magistrates were not restricted from imposing a shorter Duration of Imprisonment & could only have imposed an Imprisonment of two months to hard Labour. I have reason to believe that the Combination are about to abandon their Attempts to regulate the Price of Wages by turning out the Workmen & I am apprehensive that more Frames will be broken. I regard however their change of Plans as indicative of their Weakness. I think that we have the means of learning their System of Operations & that if the Plan of Framebreaking goes on [we] shall be enabled to Detect it. In the mean time both the Magistrates & the Manufacturers ought to regard themselves very much Indebted [to] the Plan you have suggested for counteracting these unprincipled Wretches. I am satisfied that a Horse Patrole will be found very useful.

I am Dear Sir
Your’s very obediently
Geo Coldham Town Clerk

[To John Beckett Esquire]

This letter can be found at HO 42/140.

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