Wednesday, 17 June 2015

17th June 1815: George Coldham informs the Home Office of his plan to raid Gravenor Henson's house

Dear Sir

I inclose you a Note I received this morning by the Nottingm Penny Post regarding which on my account I shall be glad to have your and Lord Sidmouth’s Judgement.―It is most clear that it is the letter of one who by some means or other is acquainted with the leading Agitators here, as the list given in the letter is such an one, as, with very little exception I might have given to you or Lord Sidmouth if you had asked me for such an Account.―The Statement about myself and Mr. Ashwell does not alarm so much as it would if the threats had been disconnected with the grand Plot of of seizing the arms &c.―It appears to me we must receive all such communications with doubt, and use them not without at the same time recollecting that altho’ they may be false they may also by possibility be true.―It may be written, as it appears to be with an intention honestly to save us from the danger to which the Writer apprehends we are exposed or it may be composed by one of these men to alarm and harass us, but the names I can hardly conceive they would think we know and the disclosure of them is scarcely reconcileable to any Statement which is not designed to be friendly unless indeed it be meant as a trap to judge whether I am active in opposing this nefarious conspiracy, and then I could imagine it to be the work of Gravenor Henson, who I think might write it with a view to incite us to take measures which might lead them to know who were the most active against them by observing whether the hints were followed.―In this Case they would take care that nothing should be found and nothing would arise out of the precaution we might adopt for the Security of their arms.—Be this as it may I have taken measures to secure the arms which I take to be the arms of the Notts Supplementary Militia which were before threatened and which we ordered to be rendered ineffective, I shall have a Guard fixed upon these arms tomorrow, and I have given Colonel Maitland a caution respecting the arms of the Cambridge Militia, and shall give the Commanding Officer at the Barracks the same precaution tomorrow morning respecting the Arms at the Barracks altho’ I do not regard them as being in the least danger.―

In the mean time I have taken care to direct the special attention of our Informant to the subject and have stationed a Constable here and have sent a Confidential Constable to Leicester to observe the Characters who may appear to proceed from hence to Leicester between this on Monday evening.—

The Organization alluded to in this Communication is perfectly and precisely what we have ever understood to be that of the Luddites here.—

I have consulted the Secret Committee and Magistrates hereupon and have taken the measures already adopted with their concurrence—Pray let me hear from you or Lord Sidmouth herein, and have the goodness to return turn the inclosed

I am, Dear Sir,
Yours very truly

Geo Coldham

Nottm 17 June

P.S. Pray let me have your Opinion what it would be wise to do regarding the Searching Henson's House for Papers We can wait your reply because it is to be presumed if he is the Leader & Consultations are held at Leicester on Monday [illegible] not be in possession of the Results of the Mission to Leicester untill Tuesday & between then & Saturday seems the point of time at which we must Search if we Do it at all―It must then be Done upon an Information if one of our Police Constables that he has been informed & [believes] that Papers are there lodged which would Disclose Circumstances dangerous to the State—but on this subject we wish the best Advice & Opinion you can procure us—& shall not hesitate to act upon it.

[To: John Beckett]

This letter can be found at HO 42/144. The enclosed note that Coldham alludes to is not amongst the Home Office papers.

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