Tuesday, 6 December 2011

6th December 1811: William Nunn, lace manufacturer to Home Office

6 December, 1811


The Bearer Mr. Hutton is a Sherrifs Officer from Nottingham with an address from the Corporation to Lord Holland: he will communicate to you the Mischief done and doing, their Systems and the best means to detect them.

As many Hundred Letters have been sent sign’d ‘Ludd’ threatening the Lives and to burn and destroy the Houses Frames and Porperty of most of the principal Manufacturers through the Post office, and very few letters are sent through that means but on these occasions, were you to direct Mr. Connant or those in whom you place your confidence, that when such Letters come, the Person within to open them, and by signal give Notice to others without to follow them, you would in a few Days find out the Committee: directly opposite is a Hair Dressers shop where women boys or men might be station’d, or any others, as three long streets command a Sight of the Office, again if Thirty, one Pound Banknotes all mark'd were to be sent to Mr. . . . who keeps the Sir Isaac Newton in a Bag, with Directions to send them to Ludd and his Men, they would immediately get into circulation through the Butcher Baker etc. get the five Banks when they come in, (which they would do in a few days) to make each Person write his name and place of abode on them and send them to the Magistrates who would send for the Parties all together and examine them, it would immediately be found who the acting men were.

For those who are demolishing in the Villages, a man or two should be placed at the top of a house in each, or on a Hill by the Roadside with Rockets when a party of these Men were in a Village, send up one or more of the Rockets giving a particular Light which would give the alarm to the other on Watch the Soldiers on Guard in the neighbouring Towns to push forward to the Rocket, giving the Signal where the Rioters are: the horse along the Roads, the Foot over the Fields, a sufficient Number would be secured to stop the whole: leave a few Men in each adjoining Village to detect such as might escape: martial law being proclaimed and every Man order’d to be in by eight or nine ‘Clock at Night: but unless the most severe examples are made of a score of these men every manufacturing Town will follow: every improvement will be stopp’d, all cautious men will draw their capitals from the Trade, and Thousands will suffer for a few infamous Wretches who exist in every manufacturing Town in the Kingdom ready and ripe for all Mischief.

If you would send Mr. Connant six more men by tonights mail, all may be quieted in a week, and all well as soon as the Leaders are taken: their system is such, and their plans so well laid, that soldiers stationed cannot be a match for them.

I have no Letter this morning, but expect it at three ‘clock by heavy coach.

I am [etc.]

Wm. Nunn

P.S. Mr. Hutton not having been here agreeable to his promise I have it best not to wait.

The letter can be found at HO 42/118. It has been transcribed verbatim, hence the spelling errors.

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