The end of the document also contains a commentary about Towle's behaviour before he was executed.
Statement made by Jas. Towle on the morning of his execution namely the 20th of November 1816 to Mr. Pochin, the High Sheriff and Mr C.G. Mundy.—
Towle said that he knew nothing of any plan to destroy Heathcoates Lace Factory at Loughbro’ until a few days or a week before it took place—that what he had said to Kilbourn, that something would take place on Friday night alluded to something that had been talked of among the Luddites to be done at Nottm but which did not take place.—That the first he heard of an intended Job at Loughbro’ was from Mitchell who came to him a few days previous to the above Job & told him it was intended to go to Loughbro’ & to destroy Heathcoates Factory & that he, Towle, must make one of the party; Towle replied he thought he could not go as he had some work in his Frame to finish—Mitchell [said] he must go as it might be a strong Job & they were afraid of [being] short of hands & could not do without him—Towle then consented to go—Towle came by himself from Basford by way of Leek to Loughbro’—He did not stop at any house on the way, or meet any body he knew; he only [arrived] at Loughbro’ just before the attack on the Factory commenced—does not know whether the Gang assembled in Morley’s Barn or not; they were all in the Street [going] down to the Factory when he [arrived]—Towle knows none of the Loughbro’ men; but understood that Badder had been over to Loughbro’ to settle the [business] with some of Heathcoate’s hands & collect money & that all Lacey’s hands subscribed—Knows one Pounder a Lace hand of Heathcoates by sight, understood he was there, but did not see him—Saw Mitchell, Savage, Slater, Peter Green, two Blackburns, Hill, Amos Crowder, Wm. Towle, a man who goes by the name of Sheepshead Joe & a man who has been a Soldier & goes by the name of the Dragoon, neither of whose real names he knows—all these persons came the neighbourhood of Nottm—Slater carried an Axe—As the party entered the Gates of the Factory a large Dog barked—He (Towle) fired his Pistol at the Dog—That they made their way to the Casting house where the Factory Watch was.—He was not one of the Foremost of the Gang at entering the Casting house—A Pistol went off in the Casting House before he entered—that when he entered three or four men were lying in a heap under the Workbench with their faces close to the Ground & two of the Gang he does not know which standing guard & pointing their Pistols at them—He went on with the greater part of the Gang into the Ground floor or Setting up Shop and from thence up the Stairs to the next Story but positively declares he never went up to the top Shop at all—Says he saw Mitchell with a Gun and fixed Bayonet in his hand & that Slater has told him
The following is what Mr. Pochin has related to Mr. Mundy as substance of what has fallen from Towle, in various conversations he has had with him in addition to the above.—Mr. Pochin has Memorandums of it in writing with which he has promised to furnish Mr. Mundy.—
Towle never took an oath of secrecy or indeed of any kind nor ever heard of any being made use of among the Gang—that they have no particular fund of money for that when any Job is intended or wanted for any purpose—It is collected among the Stockingers or Lace hands who happen to be in work at the time, that the sum required of each is so small it is never refused—the Frames would be sure to be soon broken if it were refused—they have no Depot of Arms that many of the Gang have a Pistol or 2 concealed in their houses & that when a Job is intended they borrow them of each other—He believes Savage bought a Brace of Pistols at Derby on purpose for the Loughbro’ Job—He knows of no persons in the higher ranks of life that are connected with them—That when any Job is intended 3 or 4 of the principal people go about to collect hands for it among those who they know to be well inclined to Ludding—Mr. P. understood him to say that tho’ Badder had had a great hand in planning the Loughbro’ Job he was not himself at it—Towle said that it was the Dragoon that fired so random in the Street at Loughbro’—thinks Sheepshead Joe has lived at Lambley no long time since—as the Gang returned from Loughbro’ towards Aram’s ferry they passed a man in a white smock Frock with a Cart—Some of the Gang abused him & threatened to shoot him—this is the only person besides Morris the Butcher of Chilwell and his man that Towle remembers Meeting—Says that there are plenty of people in & about Nottm that know of their goings on that some are friendly towards them & others are afraid to speak—That generally speaking the Hosiers & master Manufacturers are so much disliked among the Common people that they would sooner see their property destroyed than not—That if any of the Stockeners are suspected of not being friendly to the Luddites they take every means of injuring them & plaguing them by destroying their Potatoe and Onion Beds in the night cutting up their Gooseberry & Currant bushes (in the night) if they have any and soforth—A very handsome Powder Flask was taken from Heathcoate’s Factory—Mr. P. has a [memorandum] of who took it—he could not recollect the name of the man who took it but will inform Mr. Mundy—Towle says that the Luddites have had no hand in any thing that he knows of beyond destroying Machinery—that he has heard some of them talk about going to London to alter the Government but considered this as random talk.—
Towle died penitent & seemed to have a right sense of religion, & bitterly regretted he had not availed himself of the opportunity offered him of making these discoveries in time to save his life—acknowledged that he had been a very bad one but thought that Mitchell, Slater & Savage were worse—thinks they never will be quiet till they get hanged, seemed to pride himself in the idea that tho’ he had been a Luddite he had never been a thief—Strongly suspected that Badder saved himself by having given some information against him.—He refused to see [several] people from Nottm & Basford who came to seem on the morning the execution & the day previous—Lowater among the rest—who called several times & was extremely pressing to see him—Towle would converse with nobody but Mr. Pochin & Mr. Mundy;—was removed from the Gaol to the new House of Correction where the Execution drop by night at his own request thinking it would agitate his mind to pass through the Crowd that would be assembled if he were removed by daylight & seemed very anxious that the removal of his body to Basford & his funeral should be as private & as quiet as possible—His great anxiety seemed to be about the future fate of his wife & Children & was very anxious that they should go to reside with his mother & expressed great gratitude towards the High Sheriff & the Gaoler for the treatment he had experienced since his condemnation adding that his long [imprisonment] had been of great service in bringing his mind to the calm state of Resignation it was in & of which he frequently spoke with the greatest comfort & satisfaction—the crowd was immense, some say 20,000, but Mr. C. Mundy thinks there were not more than 10,000—The Troop of the 15th Huzzars that are quartered at Leicester were ordered to remain in readiness at their Stables but the Civil power were alone present at the Execution—Every thing was perfectly quiet & orderly—He declined making any address to the Spectators.—
This document can be found at HO 40/9/4.