Monday, 17 April 2017

17th April 1817: Awaiting his execution, the Luddite, John Crowther, writes to his wife

New Bridewell, Leicester, 8 o'clock, on the morning of our execution.

O my dearest and best of Wives,

When you receive this, I shall be no more in this world. But I die happy, in the hope of a blessed Saviour. O what a comfortable thing it is to serve the Lord. I still think my sentence very cruel and unjust, I may say murderous, for Blackborne owned upon the trial he was the man that shot Asher, for which we suffer for aiding and abetting. I was never in the factory at all; I was an outside sentinel, forty or fifty yards from the factory at the time Asher was shot, therefore I could not be assisting in the shooting of Asher, for I did not know he was shot until we had got several miles from Loughborough, on our return home. Blackborne and Burton swore that all the outside sentinels had pistols, which was false, for I had none until it was nearly over, and that which I had then was not loaded, for I threw stones at first.

My dearest wife, I most earnestly wish I had taken your advice, I should not have come to this end. I feel quite calm and in good spirits. O trust in the Lord, for he can strengthen us in the time of trouble: O trust in a blessed Saviour, for he will give us rest. I could wish for John Rawson, John Roberts, and John Roper, to be my bearers; dear wife, choose the other three thyself.

Pray remember my love to my mother and relations; remember my respects to my neighbours, shopmates, and all inquiring friends. For ever adieu! Adieu! I hope, dear wife, to meet you and my dear children and mother in heaven.


This is from Binfield (2005, p.166)

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