Sunday, 20 November 2011

20th November 1811: George Coldham, Town Clerk to Richard Ryder, Secretary of State for the Home Office


The Mayor and Aldermen of Nottingham are duly sensible of your attention to the request which the Danger in which the Publick Peace here was involved compelled them to address to you on 13th of November Instant manifested by the Letter addressed to me by your directions and in the very prompt and efficient aid afforded them by the Secretary at War in Directing a Squadron of Cavalry to march to the assistance of this District and in the Orders issued to the General of the District to afford further aid in case the Emergency should call for it.

At the time the Magistrates for the Town first address themselves to you it was not so much from a Fear as to the Inhabitants of the Town that they required additional protection as from a Conviction that it Disposition to mischief was widely spread in the County and had assumed an order and method capable of combined efforts which were chiefly Directed to the destruction of that part of the Stocking Frames in the Manufactory of the Neighbourhood which were most obnoxious to popular Prejudice; a great part of which were in the Hands of Workmen resident in the Town and which it was therefore the special Duty of the Magistrates to protect. — It has not been until this day that the whole of the Cavalry Destined for our Assistance has arrived. In the mean time the Disposition to tumult in the County has been manifested in numerous acts of violence and has induced the High Sheriff to call out two the Corps of Yeomanry Cavalry and the first and second Regiments of Local Militia. The First Regiment of Local Militia is quartered in the Town and Colonel Wright its Commanding Officer has been in constant communication with the Magistrates and to his active Exertions and steady attention as well as every other Officer and Soldier of the Regiment they desire to bear the fullest Testimony.

The Mayor and Aldermen are persuaded that the very prompt and energetic manner in which so great a force has been assembled for the protection of the Publick Peace has been eminently serviceable in shewing the misguided People in how instantaneous a manner the publick Security can be placed beyond the reach of their Violence but they must look with alarm at any long continuance of the Expense to which the Country must be put by their continuing in Service, unless Urgent necessity should require it.

It is understood that if no measure is taken for continuing the Local Militia in Service beyond the first Fortnight from their being first assembled the Law would Disband them and the Magistrates of the Town now that they know that they have at their Command two Troops of regular Cavalry think it not necessary in any of the Regiments of Local Militia should continue assembled for their Security but they enter not into the Councils or Determination of the County Magistrates to whom is committed the Safety of the County and the means to secure it.

The Mayor and Aldermen still think that if the Convenience of the service would permit it would be essential to the full security and efficient protection of the Town and County that a Body of 200 or 300 Infantry should be stationed in the Town for the Winter.

I have communicated the substance of this Letter at Secretary of War and the General of the District.

The Magistrates desire me to add that they have appointed upwards of 400 Special Constables from amongst the most respectable and able of the Town People and after having kept a Nightly Watch from the most trusty of their regular Constables in order to discover whether any of the Town’s People have taken part in the disturbances in the County have not been able to ascertain that any number of the People of the Town have left it or returned to it, from which they infer that they have taken no part in the acts of Violence committed in the County. In the Town no Frame has been Destroyed or any act of Violence committed.

I have [etc]

George Coldham Town Clerk

Nottingham 20th November 1811

The Honourable Mr Ryder, Secretary of State

The letter can be found at HO 42/117.

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