Tuesday, 15 May 2012

15th May 1812: Colonel Ralph Fletcher informs the Home Office about more prisoners and a new suspect

Bolton le moors 15 May - 1812

Dear Sir/

I have the Honor to inclose - Copies of the additional Examinations―relating to the Six Persons committed to Lancaster on the 9th instants – viz – Peter Smith – Arthur Holden - Thomas Holden - James Holden - William Holden and Thomas Shelton—and also Examinations relating to James Knowles – and John Fisher – committed yesterday – and of Joseph Greenhalgh committed this day.—One of the Examinations (that of an Informant Joseph Lomax) seems to merit particular attention – inasmuch as it implicates his Employer – Thomas Hulme – one of the Partners in the House of Cooke & Hulme – who are considerable Bleachers – residing in this Neighbourhood.—He Hulme was some time back a Chairman of a meeting the Parliamentary Reform—and it may, without any great want of Charity, be said that his Encouragement or at least Connivance - has been one of the causes that so many of his men have been found to have attended the late seditious meetings. He is a most violent Character and appears as likely as any person in this Neighbourhood to commit himself by some Illegal Act—unless the Inroad made strongest his Workmen by Commitment to Lancaster shall teach him more caution.

I shall hold it to be my duty to aid & assist in the prosecution of the persons committed—conceiving that it will accord with the general Tenor of the conversations - I have had with you & our Correspondence―And although the Evidence of the numerous Witnesses – will be large in itself – & more particularly so on account of guarding them from the threatened attacks of the disaffected—yet I trust that Government will approve of all such measures as may be taken to render the Conviction of the guilty more certain.–]

The Death of Mr Perceval has filled all good Loyalists with Grief – and what is to be particularly lamented is that the Mob should have expressed Joy at such a melancholy occasion. It would appear as if John Bulls Character had experienced a change—and that is become fit for Treasons Stratagems & Spoils. The Loyalists here cannot accede to what is stated in the Public Prints―i.e. that Bellingham had no political nature for committing the foul deed—We have from the general Language of the disaffected, and from some secret Information - of a suspected a Revolution (as mentioned in my Reports) expected to have taken place early in may – cannot refrain from entertaining an opinion that Bellinghams motives were revolutionary – but a little [Fear] will perhaps develop [more] of the System—

With the sincerest Respect
I remain [etc]
Ra: Fletcher

This letter can be found at HO 40/1/1.

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