Stockport 20th May 1816
I was prepared to expect an application on the part of the Weavers to the resident magistrate Mr Prescot for the purpose of obtaining his sanction for a public meeting to petition Parliament, & the Justice was prepared to dissuade the Delegates from that mode of promoting a petition — advising the manner of doing it to be by their Committee, & promising that it shod be forwarded
They represented their situations to be worse a great deal than when they before complained, & the written statement they addressed to Mr. Prescot I have copied & sent herewith
I have had an opportunity of asking some of the masters in the Trade about the prices—& they do not deny the main facts but say they have taken the extreme in both cases periods i:e. the highest of the Year 1814 & lowest of the present.
I have recommended proper persons to be sent to families whose support depended on Weavg to enquire as to their necessities & to apply for relief from their respective parishes & to pay every attention to them — & rather to anticipate the relief to their distresses—for it does not appear that they are likely to succeed with the object of their intended petition — but I have requested that no opposition shod be given to it by public argument or counter petition
There are bad spirits amongst the Weavers & some of the lower orders here, that no pretext shod be given to—
To day they have been distributing foolish handbills in the neighbourhood about the Downfall of the Cotton Trade or the "Weavers’ Downfall"
It is such as not to deserve notice but I shall take an opportunity of findg out the printer & cautioning him, to prevent papers of a worse tendency succeeding this—
I am in considerable haste & you will please to believe that I cod not pay better attention to this Letter to you from that circumstance—
Your very obedient hble Svt
[To] J Beckett Esq
This letter can be found at HO 42/150.