Friday, 16 February 2018

16th February 1818: Jeffrey Lockett writes to Henry Hobhouse about a confession implicating Francis Ward in Luddism

Dear Sir

Enfield has applied to me for the confession made by Woodward, (who was tried with Crofts at the same assizes at Leicester (about 1817) as Savage: & capitally convicted of the offence of Highway Robbery) relative to the intended assassination of Mr Justice Graham at [Leicester] on the road from Leicester to Lutterworth at the preceding assizes—it was not, I fear, reduced into writing,—but I was present with Mr Mundy, when it was made, and had two or three interviews with Woodward afterwards. You know that he was not a Luddite, but having lived at Lambley, was acquainted with the Luddite party, and was at Leicester at the Summer assizes in 1816 when James Towle, Badder, & Slater were tried, and was in the company of Frank Ward and the witnesses and associates of the prisoners during the assizes—He thus became acquainted with the plot which had been formerly Ward principally, for the murder of the Judge at Nottingham, & which was prevented only by the unexpected acquittal of the prisoners (Chettle & ano) He confirmed to the fullest extent, the accounts given by Blackburn, & the Luddite prisoners, of F. Ward’s proposal to effect the murder at Leicester,—of his offer of money and engagement of four or five of the party (of whom Ward was one) to commit it,—and of the part going on the road for the purpose and having been prevented from effecting the assassination by the Judge passing them in company with two other carriages. It happened that a party of barristers went with him to dine at Sir Ralph Noels.

I have written to Mr Mundy (who is at Bath) and have requested him to supply you with all the particulars which he can remember. In consequence of the confession he applied to the Judge (the Chief Baron) and Woodward was reprieved.

I am Dear Sir
Most truly Yours
Wm Jeffery Lockett
Derby Feby 16th: 1818

[To] H Hobhouse Esqr

This letter can be found at HO 42/174.

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