Wednesday, 28 May 2014

28th May 1814: The Stirlingshire Militia leave the West Riding

On Saturday 28th May 1814, after a stay of 15 months, the Stirlingshire Militia left the West Riding for North Berwick. The Militia was the unit of Captain Francis Raynes.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

27th May 1814: Leicestershire Frameworkknitters publish petition for new prices

THE Humble Petition of the Workmen, engaged in Plain, German-ribbed, Berlin, Cord, Jackwarps, &c. Framework-knitted Pieces. To the Gentleman Hosiers, engaged in the manufacturing of such goods.


Your Petitioners beg leave to state, that the price of their labour has at various times been reduced, particularly about three years ago, and the reason assigned to such reduction was, the very low and depressed state of the trade. Impressed with the force of your reasoning, your Petitioners cheerfully submitted to the privations consequent upon such reduction, under an implied persuasion from yourselves, that, when the cause ceased, the effect itself would be removed. The happy and unexpected change has taken place on the Continent of Europe has brightened up every prospect—given an irresistible impetus to commerce, and restored trade to its wonted happy tone. Your Petitioners, therefore humbly submit to your consideration, that their present application for the undernamed prices, will not be considered as ill-timed by your respectable body; which prices were drawn up at a Meeting held at Hathern, Leicestershire, the 16th of May instant, consisting of the deputies from fourteen towns and villages.

Signed on behalf of the Meeting,
DANIEL ROPER, Secretary.

List of Prices solicited to be paid.
Plain peices, 80 gauge, 18 inches wide, per yard 0s. 11d.
German ribs, fine 2s. 1d.
Ditto, sham 1s. 10d.
Ditto, coarse 1s. 7d.
Single loop, sham 0s. 11d.
Ditto, coarse 0s. 10d.
Raised cord, fine 2s. 3d.
Ditto, sham 2s. 0d.
Ditto, coarse 1s. 9d.
Berlin, worsted 2s. 0d.
Double hipped cord 2s. 9d.
Treble ditto 3s. 0d.
Double bar 3s. 3d.
Jackwarps, fine 2s. 3d.
Ditto, sham 2s. 0d.
Ditto, coarse 1s. 9d.

N.B. The Workmen also most earnestly solicit that their work may be paid for by the RACK, which is admitted by all to be an undeviating standard of justice.

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

Saturday, 24 May 2014

24th May 1814: The Reverend JT Becher writes to the Home Secretary with his views about the Framework-knitters Union

24th May 1814

Dear Sir,

In conformity with our arrangements I have abstained from trespassing upon your attention until I found myself enabled to state some of the circumstances materially connected with the offences prevailing in the County of Nottingham.—

The Union Society, as it is styled, does not conceal its existence; altho the printed regulations with which I supplied you are no longer to be procured.—The principal leader is stated to be Grosvenor Henson,—the man alluded to by T. Large in his letter some time since addressed to me.—Henson does not now work at his trade, but is maintained by the association at a weekly allowance of about three guineas.—In connection with him are many desperate characters, who are strongly suspected of being the Frame-breakers and the Instruments of popular vengeance upon all who, in the language of the Society, are "denounced."—The names of the ruffians are very carefully concealed; and as their number is small I entertain little expectation of detecting them until they have been emboldened by success & impunity to the perpetration of more frequent or more tumultuous outrages.—It is not imagined that this Nottingham Gang has ever been broken by the prosecutions formerly instituted;—and the terror impressed upon the minds of the Manufacturers by the existence of such a daring conspiracy has placed the Masters in a state of almost unqualified submission to the demands of the workmen who dictate their own terms.— —Every branch of the Lace & Hosiery trades is represented by a set of delegates; and these Sub-committees hold a regular communication with the grand Executive Committee.—The subordinate Committees are but little acquainted with the application of the sums contributed; or the purposes of the Society: they merely profess that they expect to procure some beneficial changes on behalf of the working Mechanics.—Mr. Nixon ascribes the demolition of his frames to the modification of the Frame-breaking Bill by substituting transportation for life instead of capital punishment at the renewal of the Act; with which alteration I was not acquainted until he mentioned it.—However, altho I regret the mitigation of punishment I cannot entirely agree with Mr. Nixon since many of the machines have been destroyed under circumstances of disguise & violence amounting to a capital Felony.—He feels convinced that the order for demolishing his frames was issued by Henson; and that the evidence which he gave against the bill for regulating the Framework knitting trade & his non compliance with the exorbitant demands of his workmen other sources of provocation.—He has now been compelled to advance the prices of labor in defence of his property tho the Nottingham Hosiers are manufacturing at from 10 to 20 percent above those at Tewkesbury, and the rate of workmanship is such as to preclude the prospect of a successful competition with the foreign markets.—

In the Silk Stocking trade all the Workmen of Mr. Ray have struck because he rejected their application for an increase of wages.—

The Framesmiths have discounted their employments for similar reasons, and are collecting money to sustain themselves.—

The Bricklayers encouraged by the success of the journeymen in the Hosiery trade are endeavouring to affect their purposes by a conspiracy of this date same description.—I enclose one of the hand bills which they are now diligently circulating.—The Title & Style of the address as well as the Printer's name, testify clearly its origin.

Such an extensive system of subordination & terror will, I conceive, be deemed incompatible with the existence of our manufactures: and apprised as we are of the industry & success with which these principles are disseminated among mechanics of every description throughout the empire the expediency of some remedy will unquestionably be acknowledged.

To devise the means of prevention constitutes the difficulty.—Specific regulations between the Masters & the workmen appear to be utterly impracticable.—Labor must find its own value in the market—but the standard ought to be established by free competition, unrestricted by combination on either side.—With this view I have strenuously urged some of the manufacturers to prefer an application to Parliament.—They speak in very grateful terms the attention dedicated by Lord Sidmouth & yourself to their case; and will, I am assured, avail themselves of your countenance.

To render the Bill palatable the Masters as well as the Men should be prohibited from combinations; and to secure efficiency the existing punishments should be considerably augmented.—

For my own part I attribute the late as was as the present outrages to those jacobinical principles with which the Inferior orders have been sedulously inoculated by our Nottingham Reformers; who have, in many instances, become the object of that secret organization & malevolent confederacy which they fostered by their pernicious examples, their licentious harangues & their seditious press for the attainment of their fractious projects.—

Thus have the evils, of which I complain, been introduced & cherished until they have become intimately incorporated with the state of society in this and other manufacturing districts. I do not apprehend that the result will produce any general tumult but I forsee that the ferment will not subside without it be coerced by the interposition of the legislature.

Circumstances seem to require that the law be armed with more extensive powers, adapted to the emergency; and that some formidable examples of punishment be exhibited whenever an opportunity presented for bringing the Offenders to Justice. [For] until these Confedericies which are the source of all our mischief be suppressed we never can hope to close the scenes which have too long disgraced this County.—

I have requested Mr. Allsopp who is now in London to wait upon you.

I enclose the only two pieces information which he has hitherto been able to procure.—The "Minutes of the annual conference." seem to be drawn up with a design of giving something like a lawful appearance the objects of the Society.

I have [etc]

John T. Becher.

John Beckett Esq.—

Friday, 23 May 2014

23rd May 1814: The Town Clerk of Nottingham offers his views on breaking the stockingers Union to the Home Secretary

Nottingham 23d May 1814.

My Lord,

As Secretary to the Committee lately appointed by the Hosiers of Nottingham in consequence a publick Meeting in London of Gentlemen connected with this Manufactory in order to oppose the present alarming & dangerous Combination amongst the Frameworknitters, I am Directed with the utmost diffidence & respect to suggest to your Lordship’s consideration that it has occurred to the Committee that the immediate Disbanding (if it could be accomplished without any material Inconvenience to his Majesty’s Service) of the Leicester & Nottingham & Derbyshire Regiments of Militia but particularly the Nottingham Regiment would very much tend to frustrate the System upon which the Nottingham Union Society is at present acting. They have lately compelled large Masses of the Frameworknitters working for different Hosiers to strike & give over working for them. Already the Hands of Messrs J & G Ray & Co. have/at their Suggestion or Command—It is rumoured that they are about to force the Hands of another [Hosier] thereof Beardmore & Co. to come to similar Determination—Under these circumstances the more Frameworknitters were at Home in a Situation to receive Work. the more equal would the Hosiers be to meet the Effects of this formidable Combination & the more likely would they be to find Persons ready to supply the places of those whom these Committees may be enabled to persuade to act upon this System. Every Acession of Numbers of Persons wanting Employment which can be sent home & placed in such a Situation as to be enabled to supply the Deficiencies in the regular Workmen with Drawn from their Masters by the Combination must in the Judgement of the Committee be a powerful occasion of Embarrassment to the System which the Frameworknitters are pursuing. If they go to work upon their usual Terms with their old Employers they make it difficult if not impossible for the Goods manufactured by the Frameworknitters to sell the Goods produced by their manufacturing Committee & if there is a want of Sale there must be an immediate Stop put to the Manufactory on account of the impossibility of obtaining the raw material for any other purpose that the manufacturing Goods which have an immediate Sale. If they [illegible] which might be thus added to the Population here Dependent upon the Manufactoury should join the Combination they must either find them work or a supply of money & to do other will necessarily lead to embarrass their System or exhaust their Resources—I hope your Lordship will excuse my stating these Circumstances for your Consideration. The Committee leave them with your Lordship under a persuasion that you will have the Goodness if it should be practicable to give them their Attention which they may appear to your Lordship to deserve—

I have [etc]
Geo Coldham

[To Lord Sidmouth]

Thursday, 22 May 2014

22nd May 1814: The Town Clerk of Nottingham informs the Home Office of a secret committee to combat the stockingers Union

Private & confidential

22d May 1814

Dear Sir,

I write you to inform you that on Wednesday last a very numerous Meeting of the Hosiers was held at the Police Office Tavern at which a very liberal Subscription sett on foot to counteract the formidable Combination in force & Activity amongst the Frameworknitters. At this Meeting a secret Committee was appointed upon the Plan which was last year adopted by the Corporation by a very small number of the original Meeting selected by the Chairman without the knowledge of the Body forming the meeting & this select Number nominated the Committee which consists of a still smaller & in fact very inconsiderable Number. I am sure you are aware how essential Secrecy is to the Success of our measures & and how imperious a Duty it is upon me as the Secretary of this Committee. I have however the greatest pleasure of stating to you that the Members of this Committee are Gentlemen of the greatest respectability & upon whom collectively & individually Government may [repose] the most unlimited Confidence. I write to you my Dear Sir entirely from myself with a view to your Information & [certainly] for the Information thro’ your medium of Lord Sidmouth and Invite on your part any confidential communication of the wishes of Government in relation to this Committee—I have reason to think that you will before this have reason to know that this Committee has not been idle since its appointm’ I can assure you it has occupied a great deal of my time.—I am sure you will perceive that it is essential to my Situation you should have the Goodness to withhold from every Person whatever connected with the corresponding Committee in London any letter of a confidential nature from me which may have relation to the secret Committee here or the communications made by them to the London Committee. I have no doubt you will be put in possession of the Opinion of the Secret Committee here by Mr Thomas Hayne as far as it has been embodied in writing but if I can collect it right I think it its operation against the Union Society entirely opposed any publick Declarations of the purpose of its Formation & hopeless if affecting anything in the present State of the Law by Intimidation.

It’s plan is obtain Information and to act upon it by calling upon the executive Power to appeal to the Legislature for such an amendment of the Law as they may Deem adequate to remedy the Evil. The Committee here are Desirous of leaving the mode of redress & the active obtaining of it to Government as a general measure of Legislature necessary from the general System of Combination amongst the Mechanics throughout the Kingdom. The present formidable State of the Combined force here would make the active management of such a Bill in Parliament as they would think essential to the Security of the Manufacturers [a] matter of extreme Danger to any Manufacturer who might be daring [enough] to undertake it. & I Doubt whether any could be found bold enough to Do it. I am however writing entirely from myself & solely with the wish to apprize you of the Impression & feelings under which I am Dispose to think the Committee must necessarily be acting. I hope that we shall be enabled to obtain much useful Information as we now have now a Fund at our Disposal & shall not fail to avail ourselves of it & the neighbouring Towns I am happy to say are following our Example.

Yours very obediently

Geo Coldham

[To John Beckett]

Monday, 19 May 2014

19th May 1814: Nottingham framesmiths convicted of under-employment

On Thursday 19th May 1814 at Nottingham, 3 journeyman framesmiths were convicted for not working for 8 days before the Mayor, John Allen and Alderman Edward Swann.

William Holmes, William Hedger & William Cockayne were sentenced to 6 weeks hard labour in the House of Correction.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

18th May 1814: Combination laws used against scythemakers in Derbyshire

On Wednesday 18th May 1814, nine scythemakers were convicted under the Combination Acts of organising in Derbyshire with a view to an increase in wages. Two Derbyshire JPs, Sir William Chambers Bagshaw & Joshua Jebb sentenced them to three months in the County Gaol. Their names were John Fox, Joseph Martin, John Reaney senior & John Reaney junior & George Richardson (all from Norton, Derbyshire), John Fox & Samuel Fox (from Gleadless in Yorkshire), James Turner (from Sheffield) and John Bingham (of Greenhill in Derbyshire).

Friday, 16 May 2014

16th May 1814: William Hay sends the spy John McDonald's memorial to the Home Secretary

No. 31 Clipstone Street 16th May 1814

My Lord,

At the request of the Magistrates at Manchester I have the honor to enclose a memorial from John Macdonald, petitioning for some compensation for his services during the disturbances in 1812. I understand that he was out between two and three months, and that his expences out of pocket were paid, but no recompense has been afforded him. Not being able to judge what might be considered as a proper sum for him, should Government think him entitled to the prayer of his memorial, I desired that the Magistrates would favor me with their opinion on that head; that opinion I take the Liberty of enclosing. Col. Silvester and Mr. Wright were present when the Commission was given by Genl. Maitland, and a promise made that the parties to be sent should be paid by Genl. Maitland. I heard of it immediately afterwards, and was present at the York Assizes when John McDonald gave his evidence – it appeared to me that he had been very active, and in situations at considerable peril—

I have [etc]
William Robert Hay

The Right Honourable
Lord Visct. Sidmouth
One of H. Ms principal Secretaries of State &c &c

Monday, 12 May 2014

[After 11th] May 1814: George Coldham proposes suspending licenses for Public Houses to disrupt FWK Union meetings


Dear Sir.

I have written to Lord Sidmouth by the Direction of the Magistrates of Nottingham by this Post on the Subject of their proposed procedure in relation to the General Annual Renewal of the Licences. On Tuesday it had been nearly Detemined that we should on the Wednesday commence by an Examination of every Victualler as to the Clubs &c kept at his House & there appeared a very unanimous Opinion that the Good to arise from such a mode of procedure would over balance the Inconvenience. Previous to our Meeting on Wednesday I called upon Mr Alsopp thinking by no means an improper subject upon which to have the advantage of his Judgement. Mr Alsopp seemed decidedly unimpressed with the notion that we were in Danger by this line of acting of exciting a Terror on the part of the Associates which would or might render them so far to change their places of meeting as to render useless the Degree of Information on this subject of which we are at present possessed & that if it is Drove them from the Publick to private it would be more likely to veil their future proceedings from us—I communicated this opinion to Mr Ashwell & my Brothers & upon in consequence we agreed to suspend the Licences for a week in order to have an opportunity of obtaining in the meantime Lord Sidmouth’s Judgement upon this point & with a Determination to be regulated thereby. I since understand from Alderman Ashwell that Mr Alsopp has considered softened in the Degree at least of his objection to this measure if he has not changed it into one which is confined to the mode & manner in which the Investigation should be conducted. But I think it not impossible that Lord Sidmouth may hear from this on the subject. I think that I can procure Information here from a Frameworknitter if I can be authorized to pass him so much as would nearly support him here in Nottingham. He can be Depended upon & I therefore wish you to counsell Lord Sidmouth & to learn from him if I may look to remuneration as to any Sums of Money I can expend in this way I am also embarked in an Expence with two of our confidential Constables here in some matters from which I expect very important & favourable results in obtaining Information I will thank you to let me know whether I may expect to be repaid what I may pay them on this Account. I am sure that from their Connection with me none can command their Services so effectually or at a more reasonable rates of compensation

I am Dear Sir
Your’s most faithfully & obedly
Geo Coldham

[To John Beckett]

12th May 1814: The Memorial of the spy, John McDonald

To The Right Honorable the Secretary of State for the Home Department.

The Humble Memorial of John MacDonald of Manchester in the County of Lancaster Labourer Sheweth that early in the year one thousand eight hundred and Twelve the Counties of Lancaster York and Chester were unhappily disturbed by Riots and Societies were formed for the administration of illegal Oaths and for purposes intended to subvert the order and Government of this County—

That Generals Maitland and Ackland on the third day of July one thousand eight hundred and Twelve with the concurrence of the magistrates for the district of Manchester employed your memorialist to go from Manchester into Yorkshire for the purpose of entering into the before mentioned unlawful societies with the view of detecting and suppressing the same and the mischiefs intended thereby and engaged that your memorialist should be handsomely rewarded for undertaking so dangerous a service—

That your memorialist accordingly went into Yorkshire and entered into a society in Halifax and had there an unlawful Oath administered to him and entered into the plans of the society and afterwards gave information to General Ackland and Prosecutions were carried on at York against several of the parties in which prosecutions your memorialist attended as a Witness and upon his evidence several the persons charged were convicted and transported

That your memorial list is a poor man and engaged in the before mentioned undertaking which he knew to be exceedingly perilous for the purpose of serving his Country.

That he has not received any compensation for the services rendered on this occasion and he most humbly conceived that his case is entitled to consideration.

Your Memorialist therefore prays that the circumstances of this claim may be taken into consideration and that such measures may be adopted for making him some compensation as in your Lordships direction may seem [meet]

The + mark of John McDonald

We the undersigned Magistrates acting within the Division of Manchester do certify that the Facts stated the foregoing memorial are true—Witness our hands this twelfth Day of May 1814

WR Hay
M. A. Farrington
R. Wright
J. Silvester

Sunday, 11 May 2014

11th May 1814: George Coldham proposes new curbs on freedom of assembly in Nottingham

Nottingham 11th May 1814

My Lord,

This is the day appointed for holding a General Sessions of the Peace for Licensing the Publicans within the Town of Nottingham. It is usual for the Magistrates to assemble on the preceding day in order to determine upon the general System of proceeding to be adopted. At this previous Meeting it is the constant practice for the Magistrates of the Town Nottingham the press for a full Attendance of the whole Body of Magistrates entitled by Law to act for the Town in order that they may avail themselves of the knowledge experience & counsel of the whole collective Body. Report is made of the Complaints which each Individual Magistrate has received against every Victualler comprized in the Jurisdiction for the past year; such of them as are of so serious a nature as to forbid the renewal of the Licence are so recorded & such of them as appear to merit animadversion or circumstance are inclined to be rejected in the first or reserved for reprimand their Licences being suspended during the pleasure of the Magistrates. The Mayor & Aldermen met on this Business yesterday without having had the pleasure of meeting any of the Magistrates of the County acting within the Town the Clerk of the latter Magistrates however brought the Minutes of their proceedings relating to Publicans within this Jurisdiction & the whole List of Publicans was gone thro’ & Memorandum were made against every Name corresponding [thereto] whether it involved the Forfeiture or the Suspension of the Licence.

Upon this occasion a very important consideration presented itself to the minds of the Magistrates, whether in the present State of the Town of Nottingham expressed as it is to a most formidable & illegal combination of the labouring Classes the Meetings of which Combination are almost exclusively held at Publick Houses it would not be very important to endeavour to make the present Season of renewing their Annual Licences the means of obtaining from the Publicans every possible Information relating to the Societies or Clubs which may meet at their Houses. For this purpose it is proposed that every Publican and shall be called upon to give an Account of every Club or Association meeting at his House a detail of the nature & design of them & their Stewards, Clerks or Secretaries a Register of which it is intended to be inscribed in a Book for the use of the Magistrates.

The Mayor & Aldermen feeling that this course of proceeding was not wholly without doubt or difficulty, & anxious to shrink from no exertion of their authority from which it was likely that the publick should derive benefit determined to communicate with your Lordship before they prevailed themselves to act in so delicate a Business upon the Suggestion of their own minds: They are fully aware that your Lordship from the main Sources of Information open to you will be enabled to form a more accurate Judgement than themselves—upon the probable utility of this measure & may be in particular circumstances not within their knowledge entertain a decided opinion upon the Subject. Under this Impression they have adjourned the General Sessions for granting Licences until Wednesday the 18th Instant in order that this may in the mean time enjoy the Honour & Advantage of obtaining your Lordship’s Judgement & advice which they entail that you will have the Goodness to afford them & which they are determined to make the rule & Guide of their Conduct upon this occasion. I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship Mr Beckett’s very kind & flattering Letter to me of the 1st of May written by your Lordships directions in reply to a former communication on my part. Nothing can be more flattering to me than to possess the good opinion & confidence of your Lordship [in the] publick Situation in which I am here placed.

I am [etc]
Geo Coldham
Town Clerk

[To Lord Sidmouth]

Saturday, 10 May 2014

10th May 1814: George Coldham sends more intelligence about the FWK Union to the Home Secretary

10th May 1814.

My Lord,

I have heard nothing since my last Letter to your Lordship — either from Simon Orgill or Mr Storey of Lockington as I expected what is the reason of it I do not know but it is very likely that more time has been required to concert the matters that I was aware could be required for that purpose. In the meantime thro’ a secret & confidential channel Alderman Ashwell has learnt & Desires me to communicate the same to your Lordship that the Sum collected the week before last by the Union Society in Nottingham alone amounted to £115. It appears that when any Men turn out as it is called against their Masters that the Club furnished them with Subsistence & that about a Fortnight ago they stopped all the Workmen of the House of Ray & Co & gave them subsistence upon Condition that they did not deliver in their Work to their Employers. Mr Ashwell's Informant states to him that Latham is not as Mr Allsopp imagined one of the present Conductors of the Business of the Club here he having left the Town and ceased to reside here. It is stated to him with considerable confidence that the Plan of the Association has been settled by Counsel of great Eminence by Sir Samuel Romilly and Mr Samuel Marryatt to whom perhaps your Lordship could apply & that they have the most entire confidence in the legality of such of their forms of Association as may meet the publick Eye. I suspect that these forms of gone thro’ the Hands of Mr Bond of Leicester & from him to the Gentleman thro’ the Hands of our own Agents Messrs Bleasdale & Alexander of New Inn unless some of the Society have taken them personally to the Council & conferred with them personally for the purpose of cutting off the chance of tracing the connection. From this Informants Account Simpson seems to be the prime Conductor & Manager of the Accounts here and to be the Secretary & Man of Business of the Society. He lives in King’s Place Woolpack Lane, Nottingham & is a Frameworknitter – having a standing for a single Frame for his own work in Parliament Street Nottingham at which he does not do any portion of work as could maintain him—It is therefore very manifest that he is supported by the Society's Funds. He is a very orderly quiet man of very sober Habits and there is no doubt he keeps the Accounts of the Society & receives & pays all the money collected & disbursed on Account there of which must be very considerable as all the Lace & Plain Silk Hands in short the whole Range & compass of the Lace & Hosiery Manufactory is in the Combination. I have hopes to obtain more Information from this quarter & from another Channel of Information which will be immediately communicated to me. It is inconceivable the Difficulty there is in getting any Frameworknitters upon whom you can depend to obtain information for you, & no other person can be of the smallest use.

I am [etc]

Geo Coldham

10th May 1814: George Coldham expresses suspicions about the recent frame-breaking incident to the Home Secretary

Nottingham 10th May 1814

My Lord,

I am sorry to be again obliged to inform your Lordship that the System of Framebreaking has again been commenced in this Town & there cannot in my mind & in that of the Magistrates by whom I am Directed to communicate with your Lordship be a Shadow of Doubt but that it has commenced under the Direction of the executive Committee of the Union Society. I inclose your Lordship Copies of the Depositions taken by the Mayor Mr Alderman Ashwell Mr Alderman Swann and Mr Alderman Coldham at the Police Office on the Afternoon of yesterday of the Account given by a Man of the Name of Matthews of four Frames broken at his House on Sunday Night. Your Lordship will perceive that according to the Statement of this Man all of whose Family were at Home & have been Examined by the Magistrates that great suspicion of connivance may be entertained. The House was not barred or bolted—no resistance was made no questions asked it is stated indeed by Matthews that the two Men who committed this Outrage were armed one with an Axe & one with a pistol & it is also asserted that a very alarming threat proceeded from an Assemblage at the Door but the whole making every possible allowance wears an appearance of mistery & it is difficult to comprehend if we imagine that Matthews and his Family were honestly Dispose to defend the Property entrusted to them but is perfectly intelligible if we are to suppose them intentionally winking at the perpetration of the mischief. On the other hand we are without any sort of Testimony to fix this Imputation upon them by any the minutest circumstance independent of themselves. Two Circumstances afford however a strong corroboration of our Suspicion Matthew states that he spent the greater part of the Evening of Sunday at the Dog & Drake a Public House which the Magistrates have always suspected to have been a place of Meeting the Persons engaged in these Luddite Associations & where they believe the Society amongst the [Skilled] Hands still associate. It also appears that there being 4 Frames destroyed in Matthew’s House out of 7 that the remaining three are Glove and footing frames in which Mrs Matthews & her Daughters occasionally work & in the well being of which they are interested whereas no part of the family work in the other Frames & they would sustain no personal Injury by their Distruction. With regard to the Cause of these Frames being broken it appears that all the Men working in them are paid their full price of work & that they all pay the Union Society. It appears however that Mr Bullock the Master of these Frames has been charged as a Master and refused to pay as such & that he has been asked to collect the Subscription to the Society of his Men & to pay them collectively to the Secretaries of the Club. He produced to the Magistrates a very important written Document on the subject which the Magistrates intend should undergo further Investigation. In the meantime this part of the subject has undergone very considerable Discussion & has produced a Determination on the part of the Mayor & Alderman to use the approaching Licensing Day which is appointed for this Week to obtain from every Publican within their District an Account of the Names of every Society or Association which meets at their House and an Account of their Stewards President Secretary & other Officers which they are Determined to have registered in order that it may be tried how far this Investigation may furnish precise Information & be of future use in trying the accuracy of such Intelligence as they may afterwards acquire in respect of these Societys. I have the pleasure to inform you that the utmost cordiality subsists between all the Town Magistrates & a full Determination to sift the matter to the Bottom & that they can rely upon the vigilance & activity of the Constables employed by them. As soon as anything further occurs you may depend upon hearing from me

I am [etc]

Geo Coldham Town Clerk

[To Lord Sidmouth]

Friday, 9 May 2014

9th May 1814: Louis Allsop passes Thomas Hayne's letter to the Home Office

9 May 1814.
Monday Eng

My Lord.

I lose no time in transmitting to your Lordship a Copy of a Letter I received last night from Mr Hayne—Whatever may be the result of the present plan, I cannot found my opinion, who the Committee are, or are to be, or anything about them, &, at present know nothing more of, than from Mr Haynes Letter, but I am happy to be at last some disposition to remain on the behalf of the Trade. Much mischief might have been saved originally, had this disposition existed at first—The Trade here are a very disunited Set; Mr Haynes is a very respectable Man & will go on with the Business in London—knowing the Trade here, & their want of Firmness, union, & consistency, nothing should have induced me to have had any thing to do with them, did it not seem to me, that I might thereby be the means of obtaining useful Information & rendering assistance better than I otherwise could; however I shall hope to be honored with yr Lordship's opinion, to know if this plan meets yr Lordships views, & is not likely to interfere in any way therewith, as if it goes on, I shod. wish to have my attention & that of the Committee here directed by your Lordship that We may not do any mischief & be as efficient as the nature of the circumstances will admit—Your lordship may rely upon the utmost Secrecy & confidence on my part, & as no-one will know, that I have communicated with yr Lordship unless your Lordship’s Instructions warrant it—if this Society is to do any good, it must begin well, & not commit blunders at first, & I shod. feel myself much oblig’d by your Lordship’s Sentiments upon the best mode of proceeding, as soon as yr Lordship’s Confidence will admit.

I think that it will require great consideration before the proceedings are too much talked of; it will put the Workmen on their Guard; We ought to strike quietly & talk about it afterwards—

I am [etc],
L Allsopp

[To] Lord Sidmouth

Thursday, 8 May 2014

8th May 1814: 4 silk frames broken in Nottingham

William Matthews was a framework-knitters who kept four wide silk knotted frames in his workshop, above his home on Bellar Gate in Nottingham. Two of the frames belonged to a Master framework-knitter called John Bullock who also owned the yard ('Bullock's Yard') where Matthews lived. The other two belonged to the firm Messrs Prith & Co.

At 9.45 p.m. on Sunday 8th May 1814, most of the Matthew's family were having supper when 2 men disguised with handkerchiefs over their faces entered the room they were in. One carried a hatchet, the other a horse pistol. The man with the hatchet took the candle on the table the family were gathered at, and went upstairs to the workshop, followed by the man with the gun. At the same time, another man at the door warned the Matthews family 'stir if you dare and I will blow your brains out', and up to 4 guns were pointed at them from outside. A voice at the door told the Luddites to 'stand fast and do your duty'.

Upstairs in the workshop, the two Luddites proceeded to destroy the 4 silk frames. The noise could be heard outside, and a neighbour John Griffin, who was also a constable, went downstairs and opened his door to find a man standing outside: he was immediately threatened 'take in your head Sir, or damn your eyes I'll blow your brains out'. Griffin was quick to obey.

The destruction of the silk frames took 10 minutes, and the 2 men were careful to leave 3 other narrow frames untouched and undamaged. After the destruction had ceased, the 2 Luddites came down the stairs, wishing the family 'good night' and then all the men left, disappearing into the night.

The damage to the frames was later estimated as being between £20 & £80.

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]

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

7th May 1814: The Hosier, Thomas Hayne, writes to Louis Allsop about the Hosiers plans to defeat the Frameworkknitters

7th May 1814.

Mr Dr Sir

I have had occasion to see Mr Beckett on the subject of Frame breaking; he says the laws are not strong enough agt Combinations of Workmen, which I told him was the origin of the other. I have now got a Chair to their Committee & find the parties I suspected are the Men. I have called a Meeting of the Hosiers here & we have formed a Society for the protection of Frame Makers, most of the Houses have subscribed £100; Mr Gregory of [illegible] Chandler's Lane Hall Maiden Lane is appointed to be [Secretary] for the London committee; & they have named You as [Solicitor] & [Secretary] for the Nottm Committee if You approve of it.—We are going to examine all the Acts respecting Combinations of Workmen—Mr Beckett promises they will take the matter up, if we can suggest any thing that may be serviceable—Mr Hooley is a Subscriber & will solicit Subscriptions at Nottingham; We should be prepared to offer Rewards for Information &c very soon I will furnish You with the particulars, at the same time We shall be glad to have any [illegible] & Information from you; Mr Jessop of Derby is proposed to have the Derby District & someone yet to be appointed for Leicester. It is wished that the Communications shld be made to the Sec of each department to avoid [illegible], but You may give me your Sentiments on the business. The Trade here seem very unanimous on the Subject—They are laying very deep Schemes agt us, & it will require activity & Firmness on our part to resist it—We must endeavour to suppress the Committees, Gravener Henshaw is their leader, they meet 200 at a time, Ray’s hands are stopped by order of the Committee; Beardmore’s will be the next—

Yrs [etc]
Thos Hayne

L Allsopp—

7th May 1814: The Hydrographer, James Horsburgh, warns the Home Office about Joanna Southcott

East India house
7th May 1814

My Lord

Feeling and lamenting the deluded and degraded state of many of the lower orders of society in this Country, and observing that the author of these evils, Joanna Southcott, is daily gaining converts, (having already it is said about Sixty Thousand followers) I have ventured to present before your Lordship, some of her dogmas, which are correctly transcribed from her late publications.

My Lord, I should not have taken the liberty to address you, were it not, that I lament the pernicious effect this woman's doctrines have among many of the lower Classes of society, who firmly believe her to be divinely inspired.

She has declared, before the harvest is finished this year, she will produce to the World a Son, who is the Third Person of the Trinity; (pardon me my Lord for being obliged to write thus) I am therefore of opinion, that a plan has been laid to bring forward a Child at the appointed time; and if it be adored as a God, by many ignorant but well meaning persons, you will easily judge My Lord, how disgraceful to the age in which we live, and to this Country?

My Lord
I am with great respect
Your Lordships most Obdt & most Humble Sert
Jas Horsburgh

Monday, 5 May 2014

5th May 1814: Percy Bysshe Shelley meets Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin in London

On Thursday 5th May 1814, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley visited his mentor, the political philosopher William Godwin at the latter's home and bookshop at 41 Skinner Street, Islington. Shelley had been in contact with Godwin for some time, and was in fact his benefactor.

That day was to be the second time he had met Godwin's daughter, Mary, the child from Godwin's marriage to the feminist philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft. On the previous occasion, in November 1811, Mary was 14 and Shelley 19, though he was already married at that time.

Their meeting was to be the dawn of a relationship that would transform both of their lives, and lead to the publication of one of the greatest works of science fiction, and of English literature.

5th May 1814: Leicester Mayor & Magistrates issue warnings to gatherings of Framework-knitters in the town

Leicester, May 5, 1814

The Mayor and Magistrates have received information, that large bodies of men, supposed to be Stockingmakers, are parading this town in a tumultuous and unlawful manner, having for their object to raise the price of wages by means of intimidation and threats.

The Mayor and Magistrates hereby require all such bodies of men to disperse themselves and depart to their lawful occupations, and it, after this notice, any such assemblies of men shall be found together, the Magistrates will apprehend the Ringleaders and commit them to prison, in order that they should be brought to justice.

The Magistrates hope that the present proceedings have arisen from want of reflection, and that after this notice the well disposed will withdraw themselves from such illegal parties, but if it should be found that this cautioa should not produce the desired effect, the persons who may be apprehended can only be considered in the light of wilful offenders.

Whatever may be their object, whether legal or illegal, the Magistrates will not suffer such assemblies of men to parade this town in a manner so contrary to law.

William Walker, Mayor.
W. Firmadge.
D. Harris
John Stevenson.
John Fox.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

4th May 1814: A Leicester magistrate sends information about the Simon Orgill raid to the Home Secretary

My Lord

Being one of the oldest acting Magistrates for the County of Leicester I have taken the liberty of addressing your Lordship upon a painful subject which is now rising to a very alarming state and without some very vigorous measures are surely adopted there will be no living in the country.

There is at this time a Society existing in Nottingham called the Union Society consisting of several thousands of people each Member paying weekly three half pence and there are also several other auxiliary Societies in different parts of the country.

On Sunday the 10th of last month there the hour of twelve at night there were a party of Armed Men whose number are unknown attacked the Workshops and premises of Mr. Orgill of Castle Donington in this County who is a Manufacturer of a Patent Lace Nett and destroyed the whole of the Machines to the number of twelve with all the work upon them in different stages of forwardness and also the Cotton yarn with which these Machines were employed and which was principally of an expensive kind of not less than six Guineas a Pound. They were observed through the Windows by some neighbours in an adjoining House to go from one Machine to another and fired the work whilst others of the party were employed in breaking the Machinery, they then collected the remains of the unburnt Nett, and placed it under the warping mill which was loaded with Cotton yarn with an evident design of firing the premises and which was only prevented by the Timber being of very old hard Oak. Whilst the party were then committing their depredations Mrs. Orgill was alarmed by the noise and put up the Sash of the Windows to enquire the cause when immediately she was fired at by one of the party who was keeping watch on the outside and after having finished the destruction of the Frames on their leaving the premises they fired two pieces into the Lodging room of Mr. & Mrs. Orgill by which more than twenty shot or slug holes were made in the Window. The damages done by the destruction of the Frames and materials are estimated at upwards of £1000 and although every endeavour hath been used to trace out the offenders yet at present no satisfactory information hath been obtained upon the subject but there are abundant reasons to suppose that it was done by some of the Union Society and particularly as several of the late Workmen of Mr. Orgill are become members of that Society and who have (previously to the destruction of the Frames) endeavoured to entice away others of his workmen which appears by the voluntary examination taken upon Oath of one William Tunnicliff, a Copy of which I have the honor to annex Viz
"County Leicester to wit. The examination of William Tunnicliff of Castle Donington in the said County Frameworkknitter taken and made before me Philip Story Clerk one of his Majesty Justices of the peace in and for the said County the second day of May 1814 Who upon his Oath saith that on the fifth day of January now last past he was informed by his Wife a person had been there who wished the examinant to go to the House of William Shepherd as he wanted to speak to him that upon his going to Shepherds he was informed that the person was gone to the House of John Harris and the examinant was wished to follow him that on his going to Harris's House there was a person who called himself Thomas Smith at his Wife and Family resided at Silsby and that he worked at Nottingham that he called at the request of the Committee of the Union Society to know whether the Examinant meant to leave Mr. Orgill who answered that he did not know what he was unless Mr. Orgill made some little alteration. He wished the Examinant to leave Mr. Orgills employment as he considered that he was doing a serious injury to the Trade. The Examinant replied that he did not altogether consider it in that light, if he did, for that Mr. Orgill had a patent for his business and that it worked different to what they did in Nottingham and that they could not expect the same prices that they had in Nottingham. Smith said that from what he had heard that he understood that it was no improvement and that they could work as quick at Nottingham as they could at Mr. Orgills but the Examinant and said that in case he should leave Mr. Orgill that he should not go to Nottingham and Smith then said that he wished that he could leave for that it was injuring the Trade very much, to which he replyed that if he did not work it somebody else would And also said that there was a person there that would if Mr. Orgill and he could agree and that he thought that it was his duty to do the best that he could for his Family. Smith said that he hoped that he would take it into consideration for the good of the Trade that it was the Committees intent to stop all Manufactoring in the country and if he altered his mind he hoped that he would let him Smith know before he went in the morning, but the Examinant saw him no more he not thinking it proper. And this Examinant saith that on the ninth of January James Statham and William Wootton called at his House saying that they were authorised by the Committee to call upon him and Thomas Lees, that they had brought money for them both if they're finished their work that they had under Mr. Orgill and would join the Committee, He told them that he had not finished his. Wotton said that he was Authorised by the Committee to say that if he would leave Mr. Orgill and take a two Needle Frame that they would make it up to him what would be sufficient to maintain his Wife and Family. And that the Committee would be very glad to assist all that would turn out on account of Wages, And the Examinant then told Wootton that they had laid themselves open to combination Act for offering him money before that he had finished his Work in Mr. Orgills employment. And he then enquired what the Committee consisted of, how it was conducted & for what end. They Statham and Wotton could not give him any direct answer but said that it was for the better regulation of the Trade and to confine it more to Nottingham because the original Manufacturing of Lace sprung from there and they thought that they had the greatest right to conduct it in such a manner that they should not be imposing upon one another by working at an under price That if he would go to Nottingham they would do every thing in their power to procure him a Frame that he could do well in, but he replyed that he believed that he should continue with Mr. Orgill for that they had nearly agreed and then ended the conversation on the subject.

William Tunnicliff

Before me P. Story.
I have therefore taken the liberty of stating to your Lordship the forgoing circumstances and beg to observe that from the immense numbers in the Societies and their extension That the Country appears to be in a more alarming state than it was two years ago and which I hope that your Lordship will be of Opinion that the same is worthy of your Lordships consideration and that some effectual measures may be adopted to check or put an end to such an encreasing and mischievous evil.

I have [etc]
P Story

Lockington Hall
May 4th: 1814

[To: Lord Sidmouth]

Saturday, 3 May 2014

3rd May 1814: The solicitor Louis Allsop reports progress in spying on the FWK Union to the Home Office

3 May 1814

My Dr Sir,

The Post allows me only a few Minutes—I heard Yesterday that much useful Information might be obtained at Castle Donington from Orgill, who suspects Blackner to have been concerned, in the attack of his property; unconnected with the Magistracy I cannot openly set about this, You probably can direct someone You have confidence in; Orgill is a Jacobin and a Methodist, but now much irritated; I will institute an Inquiry but cannot answer for its result—

Hodgson has tried to get me a Sett of the Resolutions, but cannot; Simpson says they are all distributed; from the Enquiries they are become sly; I learnt that manuscripts was written on detached pieces of paper, was frequently altered during the printing, & was written in a very clear plain hand; Simpson the person communicating with Hodgson: if you can send me a Copy, I think it might be useful—Hodgson is about to finish a large Quantity of Receipts to be given for the Subscriptions by Simpson or the Treasurer—Simpson took away the detached part of the Sett of the Rules soon after they were printed, & a printed Copy which Hodgson kept was delivered by his Boy to some person without his knowledge. I shod not have troubled you with this were it not for Orgill.

L. Allsopp

[To Home Office]