Tuesday, 27 December 2011

27th December 1811: The spy 'B' reports about a planned strike in Stockport and of travelling delegates

Colonel Fletcher's agent, 'B', compiled another report for his employer, commencing the 23rd December.

He reported that on the 24th December he had met a committee delegate from Mottram, who said their local committee had heard from the delegate they had sent into Yorkshire, specifically Doncaster, Rotherham & Sheffield. The report from there stated they were in need of leadership, and their shortcomings in that department had led them to turn down requests for help from Nottingham.

'B' had himself been to Stockport the same day, and reported that there was pressure for a strike from the weavers, to gain an increase in wages - "Even the single man Cannot Live on his Earnings Let alone men with famileys". 'B' noted that their poverty was so dire that they could not afford to make contributions towards the committee.

On Friday 27th December, 'B' had run into his Irish contact Cannovan. He had been as far South as Bristol where the "business" was "flat", but reported that the underground in Birmingham wanted to procure arms. He also remarked that although he wanted to visit Nottingham, it was "dangerous to do so", commenting that he thought the Luddites there "had taken a rong step should have waited a proper time".

Once again, Cannovan was disappointed with what Bent told him about progress in Manchester.

Cannovan was headed for Dublin, via Liverpool, although he said he may have to go to Scotland soon, but did not know when he would be in Manchester again. He rebuffed 'Bs' offer to send him news to his address in Dublin, saying "danger might atend such Corryspondance".

'B' completed his report with the news that the Manchester committee had not met in the last week, and was unaware when they would again, noting the disquiet that the more radical countryside delegates felt about this inactivity.

The letter can be found at HO 42/119.

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