Thursday, 3 May 2012

3rd May 1812: Colonel Fletcher informs the Home Office about more Bolton prisoners and his use of John Stones

Bolton 3d May 1812

dr Sir/

Since my letter of the 30th ultimo inclosing (in a hasty Scrawl) the Informations relating to Persons charged with being present at the administering of illegal Oaths—Mr Hulton & Self sat yesterday to re-examine several persons who had been remanded before—send of whom we again committed for to Lancaster (2 for administering, or being present at the administering, of illegal oaths, and 2 for being concerned in the Firing of the Westhoughton Factory) one of the first two is Hurst who acted as General on the 19th Ultimo and on previous occasions—and one of the latter two is Radcliffe who according to our secret Informant was the person who administered the Oath to Serjeant Holland Bowden on the night of the 19th ultimo but he could not be identified by as such by any of our confidential Witnesses - and whom thereafter we despaired of being able to bring to justice but who was afterwards identified by one of the Westhoughton Witnesses to have been present at & active in Firing of the said Factory - and is therefore committed for that offence. A person of the Name of Lyon (as mentioned in our joint Note of yesterday) is remanded - until we receive the Instructions of Government – you will perceive by their Depositions - that he is not identified as present at the Transaction of the 19th & 20th Ultimo,—but as being present and [acting] rather a conspicuous part on the Night of the 8th Ultimo. Whether his Conduct on that occasion will amount to Treason or only a Misdemeanour in being present at such an unlawful Assembly – will be for Counsel to decide—if we could bring our main Informant forwards—we could implicate him in almost all the late nefarious Transactions—but I incline to recommend keeping him (the Informant) in the Back Ground – and to the extent, in Lyons case, to prosecute him for such offences as it shall be deemed that the other Evidence (without calling forward the secret Informant) will suffice to convict him of and in relation to the other Prisoners remanded (unless fresh Proofs can be brought forwards tomorrow) to release them on Bail.—The four remanded are Nicholson Waddington Dewhurst & Stones—, in the first of whose Houses was found – a ruled sheet on which were the Names of several suspected persons—but as it was not prefaced with any Preamble or Purpose—we cannot make it instrumental to any Conviction. He was called (as our Secret Informant says) the Treasurer—Waddington & Dewhurst were both present on the 19th – but cannot be identified without bringing forwards the last – whom we have in Custody pro forma & whom we intend to dismiss tomorrow on Bail. That no detention being made he may pass as a faithful Jacobin.

It appears to the magistrate here proper to continue to arrest all suspected persons suspected of being concerned in these Proceedings – as most likely to dampen the Spirits of the disaffected―Several have fled and I doubt not more will follow—and probably it may be best as in military affairs, to make a Bridge for a flying Enemy—our drum beats for parade which I must attend―the Lieutenancy called out 4 Companies of 400 men of my Regiment for 28 days—

I remain in Haste
Dear Sir
Yours very faithfully
Ra. Fletcher

Messrs Stoner & Ravald just now acquaint me that they have forwarded the Depositions of the 4 Persons committed yesterday—

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

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