Sunday 9 October 2016

9th October 1816: The Under Secretary of State for the Home Office tells Sir Robert Peel that a freed Luddite is involved in reform activities in Lancashire

The Bolton magistrate Colonel Ralph Fletcher had written to the Home Office in late September informing them, amongst other things, that his informers were telling him that a freed Luddite, Thomas Pickup, was involved in the reform movement in Lancashire. JH Addington wrote to Sir Robert Peel, who had lobbied for Pickup to be freed, informing him of this information, starting some interesting correspondence on the matter:

Whitehall 9th October 1816
Dear Sir,
As you interested yourself very strongly in favor of a Convict named "Thomas Pickup" who was tried and convicted at the Special Assizes held at Lancaster in May 1812, and sentenced to be transported, but who after three years confinement on board the Hulks, was liberated, principally on your intercession—I think it right that you should be informed that this man appears by a letter which has been received from an intelligent magistrate in Lancashire who is in Confidential communication with this office, to have been active in promoting a General Meeting, the tendency of which there is reason to suppose was of a mischievous nature.—From the interest you talk in obtaining “Pickups” release from the Hulks, I have felt it proper to apprize you of this Circumstance.—
I have [etc]
J. H. Addington.
[To] Sir Robert Peel [Esq]

This letter can be found at HO 42/154.

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