Friday, 16 December 2011

16th December 1811: Duke of Newcastle to Home Office

Decr. 16 1811


By intelligence which I have received this day I learn that the party of the dissafected daily gains ground; this l have from authority on which I have every reason to rely. Nothing will do but the apprehension and punishment of some of the ringleaders and if possible to obtain possession of their papers should they have any, as in all probability they must have - Some clue might then be had by which to trace out the real designs of these people; at present we are working entirely in the dark Before long I anxiously hope that we may succeed in our endeavours, but as yet nothing has been done in the way of gaining secret intelligence as there have been no funds at the disposal of those you could obtain it. I have however authorized a person at my own expense to do this; no time should be lost in endeavouring to get to the bottom of this business, for conducting which the plans I am now convinced are laid much deeper than persons in general imagine.

Foreign agency is strongly suspected to be the support and mover of the whole, and it must be confessed that every thing on their part is conducted with very great ability. God grant that we may frustrate their intentions; whatever I can do I shall perform to the utmost of my power; as I have before mentioned, if I only knew what to do I should have no hesitation in carrying it into effect let it be what it would.

If you have any instructions to give or any suggestions to make I shall receive them with great pleasure.

I think I can do more good with a very intelligent, active and determined set of men in the middle class of life than with those who are in a higher situation, these people have already rendered essential service and I sanguinely hope will yet do something still more essential.

I have [etc.]


P.S. Major Cartwright is lately come down here, his relations and connections are in this County but we much fear that his object is not to see them.


The letter can be found at HO 42/118. In his transcription of this letter, Thomis (1972, p.16) adds the following note about the reference to Major Cartwright:

His object was in fact to try to persuade Nottingham Corporation to allow him to hold a public parliamentary reform meeting at which he could point out to the machine-breakers the error of their ways and suggest reform as the better alternative. The Corporation refused their permission in view of the prevailing excitement and Cartwright had to be content with writing letters to the local press.

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