Saturday, 7 March 2015

7th March 1815: Francis Raynes senses time is running out for his 'reward'

Almost three years after the height of the Luddite disturbances, Francis Raynes was still doggedly pursuing compensation from government for his efforts during that time. A long passage from his book about his recent efforts is followed by a letter from his former commanding officer to him:

Having seen every one who had been useful during the disturbances, receive an acknowledgment for their services, I determined, on being in London in 1814 and 1815, to endeavour to obtain something satisfactory or definitive on the subject of my own; being sensible past exertions are soon worn out of mind, when a continuation or a renewal of them is not required. I frequently saw General Acland, who expressed much surprise and regret, that I should have been so long passed over. I likewise waited upon the Duke of Montrose; but received little encouragement from him, to hope for the accomplishment of my purpose. I mentioned to his Grace I was desirous of an audience of Lord Sidmouth, which, I was told, might be obtained by writing a note requesting that favour. I did so, and, in the course of a few days, saw Lord Sidmouth. On making known the object of my visit, his Lordship asked me if I had thought of any thing. I mentioned the office of a Commissioner of the Lottery; but was shortly answered I could not have that. I did not presume to mention any thing else; but his Lordship said that if I had turned my views to the army, I might have been provided for long ago, as the rest were. Never supposing his Lordship could possibly think of offering me an Ensigncy, I replied I had left the army many years. Hurt and astonished at this observation, I was incapable of saying more; but his Lordship added, I had better direct my attention to Scotland, as things were more easily obtained there. On my departure, his Lordship told me, if I heard of any thing likely to suit me, I might apply direct to him.

The next day, I waited upon the Duke of Montrose, and acquainted him with what had passed with Lord Sidmouth.

The hint I had received of turning my views to Scotland, was repelled by the Duke, observing there were many applications, and but few appointments there; besides, his Grace added, “you are not a Scotch-man!” I was now asked by the Duke, who were the member for the county in which I resided, and if I knew them. Unfortunately I was compelled to say I had no interest there. I mention this, and other conversations, with diffidence, as I have since been taught my sense of hearing is not to be trusted; but to doubt the circumstance of the Red Book being produced, to find the members’ names, would be to call in question that of sight too.

Thinking Lord Sidmouth was not fully acquainted with the duty I was asking a remuneration for, by the advice of some of my friends, I drew up a memorial of services, which was forwarded by the Duke of Montrose, to the Secretary of State; and afterwards obtained the testimony of the magistrates acting for the division of Stockport, which, with my original instructions, and several letters, I sent to Lord Sidmouth.

Grosvenor-Square, March 7th, 1815.


I have sent your memorial to Lord Sidmouth, and have seen his Lordship since, who expressed his anxious wish that something should be done: but there appears to me great difficulty.

With esteem, I remain, Sir,

Your’s, &c.

[To] Capt. Raynes


This is from Raynes (1817, pp.148-151)

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