Friday, 14 October 2016

14th October 1816: A Hosier writes to the Home Office about the Luddite attack at Lambley

Nottingham Oct 14th: 1816

My Lord

It is with extreme [concern] I then take the liberty of addressing you, an humble individual, as I am, but when it is really essential you should be informed of the Diabolical proceedings of a set of dangerous fellows, who regularly sit and order a party who are immediately under their direction to go and formally demand money from the lower Classes of mechanics who cannot refuse them through fear, and at other times dispatch a Party in the adjoining villages to destroy machinery belonging to those manufacturers who may be offensive to them—I hope you will excuse me

This was actually the case last Saturday Evening when about 100 of these desperados entered different Houses of the peaceable Inhabitants of Lambley a small Village 6 miles North East of us, where they destroyed 30 Looms, and also committed many acts of theft, they at one House regaled themselves with Bread, Butter Cheese & Ale as much as they stood in need off, the remainder they wantonly destroyed

Two Looms which they destroyed belonged to myself and cost £72:0:0 & were then nearly worth the same money they first Cost—I have applied to The Revd Dr Wyld an active magistrate, who has given me a written Document to bring the whole of my property out of the County into the Town which will be done Tomorrow—

It is absolutely necessary something should be done and that immediately for our Security or inevitable ruin must be the consequence—

as a remedy nothing but sending us down a Police magistrate who knows no fear & some attendants to act both for Town & County or putting us under Martial Law or suspending the Habeas Corpus Act

Another evil I complain of is the 73 foot Regiment quartered in this Town being too much connected with the Inhabitants and ought to be removed should any general rise take place which we really apprehend they have not hesitate to say the Soldiers are nearly to a man on their side—

It is clearly ascertained & the House is well known where this Committee are sitting & that their only means of subsisting is by their sending Delegates to collect money publickly from House to House in both Town & County—

If it is in your power to do anything further at present I hope you will furnish the County with a few Regiments of Soldiers, as I am quietly confident the peaceable disposed Inhabitants must quit their dwellings unless a remedy is found—

With regard to the Character of the different People who had their Houses forcibly entered on Saturday I have known two principle sufferers for 20 years they have been uniformly steady & uniformly industrious so much so they have works accumulated considerable property—

hoping you will receive this communication as it is intended by one who revered the Constitution under which he lives, and any information at a future day I can render the state will be cheerfully done by

My Lord
Yr Lordships
most obed Serv
Robert Gill

This letter can be found at HO 42/153.

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