Saturday, 30 May 2015

30th May 1816: George Coldham outlines the case against the alleged Luddite, Peter Green

My Lord

The Mayor and Aldermen of this Town have directed me to transmit to your Lordship the accompanying Copies of Informations against Peter Green now in the Town Gaol under the circumstances therein stated.—

The Magistrates are in possession of Information upon which they can confidently rely, which they cannot give in evidence against him, without destroying the Source from which the obtain the same, that fully and satisfactorily shows him to have been long and most actively engaged with many other men, in this Town and Neighbourhood in the practice of Framebreaking and Robbing Hen Roots and Orchards to a very considerable extent, and that he was when taken into custody, as far as he could be rendered useful concerned in organizing a plan for open rebellion.—

Under these circumstances the Magistrates considered it their duty as Conservators of the public peace to have this man apprehended for being concerned with others unknown to the Magistrates in exciting the populace to acts of tumult, order the specious pretexts as stated in the Copies of Informations but with an ulterior view to open rebellion should circumstances transpire to favor in their opinion such an attempt.

The nature of the Information in the possession of the Magistrates shews most distinctly that these deluded men have it in contemplation and entertain Sanguine expectations that they shall succeed, under the existing circumstances of the times, if they can but collect together in a considerable body in overturning the existing Government of the Country; and although the Magistrates do not seriously apprehend the present power of these men to accomplish their intentions (destitute as they must be of adequate means for such a purpose), yet they cannot dismiss from their minds the consideration that, unless measures be adopted by the Civil power to check and keep under this spirit of insubordination, there is a great number in this Neighbourhood and some of the other populous parts of the Country are ready to join in seconding these extravagant and mischievous views and projects.—

The Magistrates have been using their utmost diligence to obtain such further Information against this man as could be available in bringing him to Justice for some of the many offences he has been guilty of but they have not been able to procure any such till this day.—A man named Richard Chappell, in the same prison (for embezzling money received by him on his  master’s account) communicate confidentially to the Presiding Magistrates at the Guildhall, That Peter Green has told him since he's been in the Gaol, that when the Rioting first begun at Arnold, where many Frames were broken, he, Peter Green, and two of 3 others broke into a House at Arnold there where an Old man and woman lived and there broke 2 Frames, and that a night or two after he and some others broke another Frame at the same House, and that he was at Bulwell when the man was killed there breaking Frames and that he has been at the breaking of a great number of Frames—

Under these circumstances the Magistrates do not conceive themselves authorized to dispose of this man without receiving the directions of your Lordship, and they desire me to request that your Lordship will be pleased to send me instructions what you would wish to be done herein.—

I am [etc]
Geo Coldham

30th May 1815

[To: Lord Sidmouth]

This letter can be found at HO 42/144.

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