Saturday 30 June 2012

30th June 1812: Gravenor Henson updates Nottingham on progress in London

1812. June 30

London . . .

Dr Sir

Hitherto I have been so extremely busy that I have not been able to give you the result of my Journey to Dublin, nor can I now, I have been incessantly employed in Visits and making the necessary alterations in the Bill, I have not had time this Week nor has any of us to wait on Sir Thos Tyrwhit at Carlton House, to get him to present the Goods to the Prince Regent;—Large and me went to Carlton House on Saturday but Sir Thos was not at home, We have got a number of Circular Letters printed, and we mean to open a Subscription in London, among the Wholesale and Retail Hosiers. D.P. Coke Esqr gave us voluntery £5 " 0s " 0d this Morning : The Bill was read a second time last Night; It was opposed by Mr. D. Giddy and Mr W Smith (Norwich) for the Particulars of which see the Statesman of Wednesday, (at Nottm Thursday,) There seemed from the Cheering a great Majority in the House in favor of our Bill particularly the Ministerial Benches, cheered Mr Coke and Mr Smith in their Speeches; Mr Coke, Mr Smith and Mr Babington of Leicester, and Mr Toplis met this Morning to finally arrange our Bill and make the alterations and fill up the blanks for the third Reading; Mr Babington there informed Mr Coke and Mr Toplis he being called out to present a Petition from the Hosiers of Leicester against our Bill, Praying to be heard by Counsel next Session against it. Mr Toplis and Mr Coke has seen Mr Barbash the Solicitor and he says the Leicester Hosiers object to the Prohibition of Single Cotton and Cut up Goods to the Rack and to our Schedules, and that if we will give them up he will not present his Petition: It is signed by Thirty Hosiers of Leicester and will be presented by D. Giddy Esqr. Member for Bodmin in Cornwall this Night, the Third Reading of our Bill is tomorrow (Wednesday) night. We go to Davies Giddy in the Morning, we will get every Member we can to attend, Large, Latham and Bowler are gone now for that purpose, I am with Mr Toplis finishing the Clauses of the Bill ready for to morrow Night.—The London Committee are gone to the House to hear if D. Giddy says any thing in presenting the Petition: If the third Reading is carried the Incorporation Bill will be presented on Thursday Night. It will be considered a Private Bill for which wc must pay the Printing send up the Money by return of Post Fifty Pound at the least I have every reason to think that the Ministry will support the Bill, The Clause prohibiting the Payment in Goods, which clause it was that D Giddy opposed, was drawn up by Mr Vansittart himself, Lord Castlereagh has signified his approbation of the Bill, and so [has] Lord Sidmouth; We have some Reason to [think] the Prince Regent is also favorable. We have only Dr A Smiths Disciples to contend with, whose principles are execrated all over the Kingdom Mr Ainsworth of Manchester, a Merchant of great Fortune has been with us, and expresses his utmost detestation of his maxims, Mr Harrison the Government Solicitor, and the present Ministry are most of them of the same opinion, Dont fear! the Tewkesbury Hosiers have resolved to defend this Bill to the uttermost against the Leicestershire Hosiers they have wrote to Mr Tracey to that effect. If the business is concluded in time we shall waylay the Mail at Islington, that you may have the result on Thursday

Dont neglect to send us Money as it is the Sinews of War

I am Sir Yours sincerely
Gravener Henson.

[Addressed to:] Mr Thos Roper . . . Nottingham.

30th June 1812: Colonel Fletcher writes to the Home Office with news of plots here, there & everywhere

Bolton 30th June 1812

Dear Sir

The following is a copy of a Letter which I received several days ago from Mr Higgin the Gaoler of Lancaster Castle — The Information appeared to me important and conceiving that some further disclosure might be made by Samuel Ratcliffe (one of the Convicts now under Sentence of Transportation administering an Unlawful Oath to Serjeant Holland Bowden) I requested Mr Higgin to elicit from him (if he could) all the Information possible. —Mr Higgin has sent me Word that he will take every opportunity of complying with my request – and it has been under an Expectation of such further Intelligence that I have delayed to transmit this Copy.

I find Ratcliffe has not been sent off with the other convicts but still remains at Lancaster — and for this I presume will meet his Lordship's Approbation—if it has not already been signified to Mr Higgin—

Lancaster - Castle 15 June 1812

Dear Sir

I have had some Conversation with Samuel Ratcliffe one of the Convicts now under Sentence of Transportation from Bolton.

He tells me that the Gentlemen concerned in the late present treasonable practices are extremely cautious in their Conduct. After they have held a meeting it is not known which of them forwards the Intelligence to the next organized place. For Instance, if any new Information is to be sent from Bolton to Preston, the papers go through several Hand in [illegible] before they are given to the real messenger, who is called a Delegate. He finds the papers by going to a Field where there is an appointed Mark. With the papers. With the papers he finds a Counterpart Card, which he takes with him to another Field near Preston where he finds another Mark, and the Counterpart of his Card. Here he leaves the Papers until they are fetched away by a Stranger in the night. Next night he resorts to the same Place and finds the answer. The meetings are held every 3 or 4 Weeks, and if a Delegate is detected or suspected, the Sign, Countersign and Counterpart Card are immediately altered. He says there is a meeting held at Manchester for the District, and a large Fund for the maintenance of active members.—From what he has heard he believes there are many Thousand Pikes already made of a particular Construction. The Pike Part is called the Drill because it is like the Pointril of a Blacksmiths drill. The Crescent with two Edges is called Sniggar. The Whole Pike consists of 3 Parts and can be taken in Pieces. It fits together by a Socket with a Pin & Screw.—It is a general Rule never to keep any Books or Pikes in a House longer than Part of a night for Fear of a Search, therefore every thing is left out of Doors.

He supposes the printed papers are done by what are called the Opposition Printers in every Town—no name is placed in the usual Way. All Information is conveyed from Town to Town by the Delegate messengers. He believes the Union or Combination began in London, goes through Nottingham and from thence to Manchester and Carlisle. Small towns lying between principal places are not yet organized, only some of the Trades in them have taken the first Oath. There is a second Obligation taken by superior Persons. When a list of Names is transmitted there is a mark opposite the Name to denote the Profession or Trade. Ratcliffe has mentioned several Names, that are very familiar to you, apparently respectable Characters in your Town, such as Crook - Taylor - Hartley - Belshaw - Hulme and Cross. Should there be any thing that will be new in this account to Mr Hay, your Chairman, you may forward this Letter to him – you must excuse this Scrawl, for I have been employed all Day in sending Letters to my Friends in the House of Commons in Vindication of my own Character. I intend to send another Party of Convicts by Coopers Coach on Friday next—

I am
Dear Sir
Yours very respectfully
Signed—John Higgin

To Ralph Fletcher Esqr
Some of the Persons named above, as connected with the Seditious I am told are under some degree of alarm — Taylor is a doctor of Physic and during his academic Studies at Edinburgh in the early part of the French Revolution held such violent language against Government and in Favor of an Invitation of the French, as drew upon him the course of the [Superior] and had nearly caused his Expulsion — He (as was also his late Father) is of the Socinian School, and holds [deep], on every occasion when not deterred by prudential Considerations—both the established Religion & Government of the Country to the Hatred of the people—He is connected with the Edinburgh Review—and there is reason to believe corresponds with Brougham. The enclosed Note from R: Needham informs me that Taylor & Crook were collecting Evidence—to form the Subject of a Motion to Parliament I am not surprized at the Intelligence as knowing it to be the System of that desperate Faction to exhibit, as far as within lies—all Magistrates & others in Authority to the odium of the People—both Taylor & Crook (his Brother in Law) attended the last Special Assizes—and through them came the Money for the Expence of the Defence of the Prisoners. Hartley is a Printer for the Party – as described by Ratcliffe — Belshaw I know nothing of — Hulme is the most notorious – having proceeded in Encouragement of his Servants by seditious Language to a Length little short of Treason.—It is supposed that some of these persons are on their Way to Town at the Call of Mr Brougham.

Cross is an attorney of this Town & in considerable Business, In the Employment of the Party he may have gone certain Lengths but was not suspected by me of having engaged in the Business con amore untill Ratcliffe assertions as contained in the letter.

On the 26 instant I sent a Note to General Maitland acquainting him that Six of the militia quartered at Mottram a Village in Cheshire about 4 miles distant from Ashton Under line (in Lancashire) had been twisted in, the Sunday before, on a moor in the Neighbourhood on the Sunday morning before. The information came from B and he assures me it may be depended upon—I have no doubt but the General will cause that Detachment to be watched.

The Manchester Luddites are busied presumably with raising money for the Support of the 37 men lately committed to Lancaster and for the maintenance of their Families. I am not without hopes that the Extent of the Sums necessary for these Purposes will give our People a good opportunity of discovering the Sources from whence the pecuniary aid must flow.—Contributions from the Weavers cannot I think be great—The other Trades are more organized—such as Spinners Taylors &c &c – and probably something considerable may be derived from those Sources;—but I cannot help concluding that there is a Secret Fund—supplied by aid from from Quarters yet undiscovered.

B is confident that in the neighbourhood of Stockport Ashton - Mottram &c the Luddites are possessed of considerable numbers of Stands of Arms—and that many of them are acquainted with military Discipline—many of the Delegates that have visited B. from the Country before mentioned seem eager to make a Start (as they term a Firing) before the Trial of those lately committed from Manchester should take place—and the Intelligence derived from others seems to point out the projected Rising – after the Hay-Harvest.—But unless the disaffected in Ireland shall lead the Way in the Rebellion I trust the Luddites in England will not dare to come forward in the open Field—The Obstacles to Revolution are yet considerable – and the Parliamentary Pioneers of Faction must first level these Obstacles before their Rebellion can be waged with any prospect of Success—It is their Plan & will incessantly be attempted to [prostrate] the Barriers of the Constitution—considering wisely enough though in a bad Cause—that the Capture of the Citadel will be sooner & more easily accomplished by breaking Ground & maintaining Batteries at the shortest distance from it.—

I remain [etc]
Ra: Fletcher

To John Beckett Esqr

Friday 29 June 2012

29th June 1812: The House of Commons debates the Prince Regent's message about the disturbances

Following the reading of the Prince Regent's message in the House of Commons 2 days before, on Monday 29th June 1812, the House of Commons debated the government proposals:

Lord Castlereagh brought up a large sealed packet of papers by order of the Prince Regent, being the information to which his Royal Highness had in his Message alluded, and which he stated should be laid before parliament.

Lord Castlereagh then rose and said, that the course of proceedings which he should recommend, would render it unnecessary for him now to trouble the House at any length that upon this important subject. He should first propose that the House should expresses its thanks to the Prince Regent for the Message his Royal Highness had sent, and should give its assurances that no time should be lost in taking the subject into consideration, by instituting such proceedings as might be deemed expedient. His lordship’s next proposition would be, that the papers here just laid upon the table should be referred to a Committee of Secrecy, not for the purpose of recommending any measures to the House, but merely of examining the private information communicated, of laying the substance of it before parliament, in such a form as would give the House a distinct and fair view of the actual state of the disturbances which had so long subsisted in the interior. By the Message the Prince Regent, however, it was by no means intended that government should be discharged from the burden of submitting to the country their opinion upon the subject, and of bringing forward such measures as to them appeared likely to correct the evil. His lordship would not now enter into these topics; since, after the committee should have reported, a much more fit opportunity would be afforded; and as nothing could be more injurious than that the matter should be prematurely discussed, so nothing could be more advantageous than that it should be fully and fairly investigated, that the opinions of all might be ascertained, and if possible accommodated. At present any disclosure even of the general outline of the plan proposed by ministers to be pursued, would only serve to excite feelings far better suppressed, and to lead to discussions far better postponed. His lordships reluctance did not arise from any unwillingness, or fear in exposing what course ministers would suggest, but it originated in an opinion that neither the House or the country being in possession of the fact, were not prepared for any measures founded upon those facts. On a former day an hon. and learned gentleman (Mr. Brougham) had adverted to delay, of which he accused government of being guilty in not calling for the aid of parliament at an earlier period of the session. His lordship felt confident that he should be able to persuade the House that it was to be attributed to a justifiable reluctance to solicit other aid, while there remained a hope that the established laws of the constitution would be found adequate to the exigency. With regard to what had fallen from the same individual as to the Call of the House, his lordship was prepared in a way that, he trusted, would prove satisfactory to the House, to shew, that previous to the discharge of the Call, ministers were not in possession of such intelligence as would authorize them in resorting to the legislature: he was also ready, at the proper time, to detail to the House those particular circumstances which had subsequently occurred, to induce them to take the step which they had now adopted. Of this his lordship was certain, that in government there was no disposition to shun the discussion of the subject before, or to be deprived of the assistance of a full attendance, but the hon. gentleman himself would recollect that on Friday, the day after the Call was discharged, he (lord Castlereagh) stated to the House that he should be authorized to make a communication to it on this subject. His lordship concluded by proposing, “That an humble Address be presented to his royal highness the Prince Regent, to return his Royal Highness the Thanks of this House for his most gracious Message, and to assure his Royal Highness that this House will immediately take into their most serious consideration the subject recommended to them in his Royal Highness's Message, and will adopt such steps as may appear to them best calculated to afford security to the lives and properties of his Majesty's peaceable and loyal subjects in the disturbed districts, and for the restoration of order and tranquillity.”

Mr Whitbread said, that he did not rise to oppose the motion. He professed his ardent wish that the noble lord would, as he asserted, be able satisfactorily to shew why he suffered the Call to be discharged before he made any communication to the House: as affairs now stood such conduct appeared to require a very ample apology to the peaceable inhabitants of this country. He sincerely hope that after the Secret Committee should have been appointed to report upon the papers sealed and delivered at the bar this day, it would be found at no extraordinary measures were necessary, and as the noble lord had deprecated discussion, so he (Mr. W.) deprecated any ill-advised attempt to do good from which so much injury might ensue. Examples from our own and from the history of other countries were not wanting to shew with what extreme caution we should proceed, and, profiting by dear-bought experience, he trusted that the subject would be discussed without passion, and decided without precipitation. After the whole matter should have been investigated, he could not avoid indulging a sanguine hope that it would be found that the law of the country, as it now stands, properly executed, and that the power of the crown, as it now stands, properly exercised, were quite adequate to the restoration of tranquillity.

Mr Wilberforce entirely participated in the hope, that nothing would be found in the documents laid upon the table to call for any extraordinary measures. He would not allow himself even to express an opinion, lest it might give rise to feelings that ought to be banished from all minds, that might produce dissent instead of union, for the accomplishment of an object of the greatest magnitude. Not being at all acquainted with the nature the papers supplied, and not having been present on Saturday when the message was brought down, he was, perhaps, of all men the least competent offer any thing to the house, but he could not avoid rising to express a wish, that the utmost calmness and moderation might be observed in the deliberation. Nearly connected as he was with a district of the country most disturbed, he felt it necessary to conjure the House, that the case of these unfortunate and misguided people might be fully and candidly weighed, that the result might be the restoration of order, unanimity, prosperity, and happiness.

The question was then put, and the resolution was agreed to, nem. con.

Lord Castlereagh then moved, that the papers he had presented, should be referred to a committee, that it be a committee of secrecy, and that the number of members be 21; which were severally ordered. His lordship likewise moved, that the members be chosen by ballot.

Mr Whitbread protested against this mode of proceeding, since it would give the noble lord the appointment of every member of the committee. He wished that the members of it should be publicly named and chosen, that the House, and not the noble lord, might have the formation of the committee.

Lord Castlereagh persisted in his motion, since he was certain that on no side of the House on such a question would party feelings be exercised; he was convinced that it would be treated by parliament in a manner, which while it did it honour, would give satisfaction to the people.

Sir F. Burdett, looking at the precedents to which the hon. gentleman had referred, could not help feeling great jealousy as to the conduct of government; he hoped that the bounds of the constitution would not a-new be transgressed by them. The mode in which the committee was formed, if the satisfaction of the people were looked to, was of the utmost importance. It ought to be of such a description that the country would place reliance on upon its wisdom and impartiality, and not to be merely composed of the creatures of ministerial nomination.

The question that the committee be chosen by ballot was then put and carried, though there were a number of dissentient voices.

On the question that members prepare lists, and appear to-morrow to put them into the classes appointed for their reception,

Mr Whitbread declared that he should not attend for that purpose, as experience had shewn that it would be useless, since any list he might prepare would be smothered in the vast heap of names supplied by the noble lord and his political friends.

It was ordered that the papers communicated by the Prince Regent should remain sealed until the apartment of the committee.

29th June 1812: The House of Lords debates the Prince Regent's message about the disturbances

Following the reading of the Prince Regent's message in the House of Lords 2 days before, on Monday 29th June 1812, the House of Lords debated the government proposals:

Viscount Sidmouth, in rising to move an Address to his Royal Highness, trusted there would be an unanimous concurrence on the part of the lordships in expressing their gratitude for the communication, and in declaring their determination to take into consideration the documents presented to them, and to adopt such measures as the information communicated might appear to require for the safety and security of his Majesty's loyal and peaceable subjects, and the restoration of tranquillity. He should afterwards propose to refer the papers to the committee of secrecy, and it was not for him at the present moment to anticipate what measures might by that committee be deemed necessary. It was with great pain that his Majesty servants had found themselves compelled to resort to this step, but the necessity that existed, rendered it a duty imperative upon them, to advise his royal highness the Prince Regent to make the present communication to parliament. It could not of course be expected that he should now enter into any detail of those circumstances which had rendered necessary this communication. It was, however, matter of notoriety that acts of the greatest violence and outrage had been committed in some districts of the country; and although the conduct of the rioters might be, in some degree, traced to the high price of provisions and the reduction of work, still there was no doubt that these outrages were fomented by persons who had views and objects in thus fomenting disturbances, which it was the duty of government to counteract. The repeal of the Orders in Council might tend, by increasing employment, to withdraw many from this system of riot and outrage, but government would have incurred a heavy responsibility, if, with the knowledge of the documents now communicated to the House, and aware that the hopes of increased employment might be disappointed, or that it might please Providence to inflict the calamity of another deficient harvest, they are not advised is royal highness the Prince Regent to make this communication to parliament. Every measure had been adopted on the part of the government: the military had been called in to assist the civil power, and had conducted themselves with the utmost zeal and moderation; special commissions had been issued for the trial of several persons for acts of riot and outrage, some of whom had paid the forfeit of their lives; others had since been taken into custody, and been ordered for trial. But under the circumstances of the present state of the disturbed districts, is Majesty’s servants had considered this a communication absolutely necessary, in order that measures might be adopted to the security of the lives, and the safety of the property of his Majesty's peaceable and loyal subjects. It would of course rest with the committee to whom the documents were to be referred, to consider what measures were necessary: he did not, however, mean to say, that his Majesty's government had not formed an opinion as to what measures would be requisite. His lordship concluded by moving an Address to the Prince Regent, returning thanks to his Royal Highness for the communication, stating that the House would take into their serious consideration the documents referred to, and expressing their determination to concur in such measures, as, from the information communicated, might appear to be necessary, with a view to the security of the lives and property of his Majesty's peaceable and loyal subjects.

Earl Stanhope observed, that there was not a word in the proposed Address which was not very proper; but at the same time it was much to be wished, that some farther explanation of what was intended should be given; for as to the adoption of proper measures, this might mean anything or nothing: it was no explanation at all. He could not help also observing, that the noble viscount himself, by his Bill of last year, had been a great cause of discontent and disturbance; and he might thank the prudence of opposition, and of ministers—of bishops and layman—that he had not been the cause of much more disturbance. He regretted any such step as this should be necessary to restore tranquillity; but had they tried every other proper measure? Let them look at the situation of the peasantry of Ireland; of the poor of Wales; and of the non-conformists, who formed the greater part of the population of the empire. Let them endeavour to preserve tranquillity, by conciliating the people, and leaving no just cause of complaint. This would be the course of a wise government. But still these unlawful riots must be suppressed, and he had no objection to the words of the Address. He thought it right, however, to propose to add the following words,—“not violating the principles of the constitution.” This addition was necessary, considering the vague and ambiguous state in which the noble viscount had left the question.

The Earl of Liverpool did not think that their lordships would pledge themselves to do any thing tending to violate the principles of the constitution, by agreeing to the Address without the words proposed. The noble earl called for further explanation; but what farther explanation could his noble friend have given under the circumstances of the case? His noble friend had stated, that there were serious disturbances in the country, which the measures hitherto adopted had not been sufficient to suppress; and he had laid on the table a sealed bag, containing the proof of what he stated. Under such circumstances the motion to refer the information to a Secret Committee, without anticipating what might be the proper measures to be adopted in consequence, was conformable to the ordinary practice of parliament on such occasions. It would have been in the highest degree indecorous to hint at the steps which ought to be taken, before the examination of the papers. The proper measures would be the result of the investigation, founded on the information given to the committee. The ministers ought not to commit themselves to any particular measures at present. All they could regularly say at present was, that, in their opinion, some farther measures were necessary. What we should be remained for future consideration. When the noble earl talked of violating the constitution, he probably meant more than met the ear. If the noble earl meant, that it was a violation of the principles of the constitution to depart, on extraordinary occasions, from the ordinary practice of the law, he completely differed from him on that point. Parliament had the power to adopt extraordinary measures to meet extraordinary cases; and when such cases occurred, it was perfect constitutional to exercise that power. If parliament had not exercised that power on particularly emergencies, their liberties would not now have existed to such an extent as they did. This, however, was not the time for such discussions. The subject would come more regularly under consideration when the committee had made its report.

Lord Holland concurred with the noble viscount who proposed the Address, in the opinion, that it would be improper in the present stage of the proceedings, to anticipate what measures it might be proper to adopt. He also agreed with the noble earl who spoke last, that it would be much more decorous to defer discussion till the committee had made its report. But, at the same time, he saw no objection to the words proposed to be introduced in the Address by his noble friend; on the contrary, he thought, that something like this edition was requisite. They talked of not trusting to speculation, but recommended the adoption of such measures as would be calculated to meet the worst that could happen. All this was very properly urged; but, at the same time, he was an old enough member of parliament to know, that sealed green bags and secret committees threatened the generating of such monsters as the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, and similar abominations. The suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act he should always oppose; and under all the circumstances in the present case, he thought it was candid and right to express at the outset, an anxiety to preserve the principles of the constitution inviolate.

Earl Stanhope agreed with his excellent and constitutional friend so far, that in no case would he consent to the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act; but more especially he would not consent to place such a power as this would furnish, in the hands of such a minister as the noble earl opposite, (Liverpool,) a Minister who had no fixed principle at all, and was more versatile than a weather-cock, turning about with every change of wind. That minister had declared, that he would adhere to the Orders in Council, and had soon after relinquished them. He declared, that he would oppose his (lord Stanhope’s) Gold Coin Bill. At five o'clock he intended to vote against it; at six o'clock he was resolved to oppose it; at seven o'clock he was still hostile to it; but in five minutes after, he suddenly held a cabinet council, and became one of its warmest supporters. Was it to such a weathercock of a prime minister that such powers should be entrusted? He had great hopes, from the opposition of the noble earl, that he would ultimately support him.

The Lord Chancellor then put the question on earl Stanhope's amendment, which was negatived; earl Stanhope declaring, that he would not divide the House upon it, as the subject would come again under consideration.

The Address was then agreed to without farther opposition.

Viscount Sidmouth next proposed that a Secret Committee should be appointed, to consider the information adverted to in the Prince Regent’s Message; that the Committee should consist of eleven lords, to be chosen by ballot; and that the House should proceed to such ballot at four o'clock to-morrow.—This was agreed to.

29th June 1812: Arms raids in Holmfirth

At 1.00 a.m. on Monday 29th June 1812, Cookson Stephenson & his family were asleep in their beds when they were roused by a loud banging at the door. From the safety of his bedroom, Stephenson enquired who was there, and the reply came "General Ludd".

Stephenson decided to go down and open up - ten men, armed and in disguise, came in. A man who seemed to be their leader demanded Stephenson's pistols, but Stephenson could only give them one - he told them that the other was at the local Blacksmiths for repair. The men left, being very courteous to Stephenson.

But the arms raiding was not over with that night. The men did visit the Blacksmiths and obtained Stephenson's pistol. They also obtained 5 other weapons in the neighbourhood that night.

Thursday 28 June 2012

28th June 1812: The convict Thomas Holden arrives at the Prison Hulk, HMS Portland

Thomas Holden arrived at Langstone Harbour, Hampshire on Sunday 28th June 1812, 9 days after leaving Lancaster. He would be held there on the Prison Hulk, HMS Portland, until the time of his transportation. An extract of the letter he wrote to his wife is below:

I have had a misfortune for I have lost my [          ] and money I hope you will send me some more as quick as possible you can ... our Journey has been verry whett and uncomfortable and I have been eight day and nights without having my cloaths of my back.

Direct for me on board
HMS The Portland
Lying in Langstone Harbour, Nr. Portsmouth, Hants.

28th June 1812: Further ten day respite for the three condemned convicts at Chester Castle

The Lancaster Gazette of 4th July reported that on Sunday 28th June, the three remaining prisoners who were condemned to death at the Chester Special Commission in May - Richard Lowndes, William Greenhough & John Heywood - were reprieved for 10 days for a second time. The paper posited a theory as to why this had happened:
It appears, from the very limited period of each suspension of the sentence, to be the intention of Government to make the deluded and disaffected answerable for the lives of the unfortunate men; or in other words, to render them hostages for the tranquillity of the county, in the eventual preservation of which, their lives may be spared.

Wednesday 27 June 2012

27th June 1812: The Prince Regent sends a message to the Houses of Parliament about the disturbances in the North & Midlands

On  Saturday 27th June 1812, a message from the Prince Regent was read to member of both the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The message, which is below, is followed by the debate in the House of Commons:

His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, in the name and on the behalf of his Majesty, has given orders that there be laid before the House of Commons, Copies of the Information which has been received relative to certain violent and dangerous proceedings, which in defiance of the laws of taken place, and continue to be carried on, in several counties of England.

His Royal Highness confidently relies on the wisdom of Parliament, for the adoption of such measures as will be best calculated to afford security to the lives and property of his Majesty's peaceable and loyal subjects in the disturbed districts, and for the restoration of order tranquillity.

Lord Castlereagh then moved that the Message be taken into consideration on Monday.

Mr. Brougham expressed his concern, that after those disturbances had so long existed, the notice of them should have been put off till so late a period of the session. Still greater was his astonishment, that the call of the House should have been discharged when any measure was to be adopted for the alteration of our laws, which was always, if possible, avoided by our ancestors, even in worse and more dangerous times in the present.

Mr. Giles wished to know if the noble lord intended to found any motion on this Message on Monday next?

Lord Castlereagh said he should propose an Address to his Royal Highness, in answer to his most gracious Message, and also propose that a Select Committee be appointed to enquire into this subject.

Mr. Horner wished to know if the noble lord intended to name the Select Committee on Monday?

Lord Castlereagh said, that the Select Committee would be named on some future day.

27th June 1812: John Lloyd reports on the progress of his spies in West Yorkshire

Stockport 27 June 1812


I have the honor to inform you that I have this Morning a Letter from Huddersfield. The men have not been able to dispose of any Goods owing to the extreme poverty and distress of the people, which they say is surprizing.

They have been made acquainted with the intentions of the malcontents and they know of all the projected meetings & designs for a Week to come—and a very extensive Meeting is to be held on Sunday between 4 & 10 in the afternoon & Evening at a place called Cross Pipes Denby Moor between Shepley & the Wind Mill—& “there they will be in the midst of them”

I cou’d wish that nothing may take place to prevent the Meeting; because these men will be able to give me an Account of the purposes of it. And I write not to request any surprise upon them but that you will have the goodness, Genl., to concert measures with Mr. Hay so as any other spy may go up under his & your directions to convey you intelligence of what may happen or what is likely to happen.

I have [etc]
J Lloyd

[To General Acland]

27th June 1812: 'Vindex' responds to 'Justus' in the Leeds Mercury

Mr EDITOR,—With your Permission I shall make a few observations on JUSTUS’s Letter, which appeared in the last Mercury, to which I am induced, not so much on account of what it contains as from the opportunity it will afford me of making some additional remarks to those I have already made on the subject of Machinery.

I allowed in my last paper that it would be absurd to employ men with one might be advantageously performed by a machine, but this allowance was made with the consideration that the time and manner of introducing it should be favourable; it was not to be at a time when there is no danger of a diminished trade from the dearness of our manufactures; neither was to be applied when there are already more men than can find employment, and who at the same time labour under the accumulated evils of heavy taxes and the high price of provisions; nor did I intend that he should be introduced in a sudden and general manner, but rather that it should be adopted gradually, and a reasonable time allowed to those who are affected, to find employment other ways. This might be easily done by prohibiting all those who apply for a patent from erecting above a certain number of their machines within a limited period, according to the circumstances of the case. By this means all the inconveniences which result from a large body of men being thrown suddenly out of employment would be prevented, as the men affected by the machine would “die off,” and no person would bring his children up to a trade that was shortly to expire. If Justus had attended to the above limitations, under which I ventured to approve machinery, he would not I believe have found himself under the necessity charging me either with inconsistency or perverting the fair course of argument, for interested purposes. As for the latter I believe my interests are as little connected with machinery as yours, Sir. But Justus seems not to have been aware of the importance of time and (to use a well-known phrase) “existing circumstances,” for these are the only points concerning which men of sense can be divided; they are the hinge upon which the whole discussion of this affair must turn, and the only ground on which I purpose to content about machinery. Justus acknowledges that some may be sufferers from it, but the public in general will be gainers. Why then does he not recommend it to the public to make some compensation to those who are suffering for their benefit? Why should the interests of one part of the community be selected as a sacrifice for the good of the other?

Upon the whole Justus’s paper contains nothing either comforting or convincing to those whom it concerns, and will, I am afraid, contribute very little to reconcile and the loss of two-thirds of their income. It was not necessary to inform them, but they must change their employments; this is what they are aware of, and that of which they principally complain. I shall now leave Justus without noticing his draw-boy breeches, one-legged weaver, and calimanco petticoat; neither will I make any remark on the very pathetic exclamation with which he concludes, for I think it is rather extraneous.

It has at all times, Sir, been the policy of our rulers to render the price of labour as low as possible, that our merchants might be enabled to sell their commodities cheap. To attain this desired object the principal means resorted to have been the enacting severe punishment against those who should combine to advance the price of labour. It seems never to have entered the sensorium of our Legislators to limit the profits of our merchants, although by that means the objects they had in contemplation might be procured with equal justice and effect. Every one may combine with impunity to lessen the sources of the happiness and prosperity of the poor, but they must not combine.

Whoever impartially examines the laws by which our commerce is regulated, must be surprised that the partiality they show to one class of the community, to the detriment both of the artisan and producer of the raw materials. This advantage the persons enjoying it have contrived to procure by artfully persuading the law-makers that their own private interest is the interest of the whole community.

If, Sir, through the medium of your independent paper, the above observations should contribute in a trifling degree to allay those fierce animosities that of lately been engendered, and if they should produce a spirit of forbearance and sympathy, instead of insult and contempt, my object will be fully attained. This is not the time for encroachment on the labouring classes, the difficulties under which they labour are already too great and numerous; something must be attempted by way of conciliation, any thing like coercion will, I fear, only tend to deeds of greater violence and desperation. Theirs is not a clamour for a chimerical form of Government; only give them employment, and let that employment produce them bread, and we shall hear no more of riot and outrage.

I remain yours,

Leeds, June 10, 1812.
To the Editor of the Leeds Mercury.

Tuesday 26 June 2012

26th June 1812: Gravenor Henson & Thomas Large obtain an interview with the Home Secretary, Lord Sidmouth

1812. June 26


Dr Sir

I have just recd your Letter, and thank you for the Cautions respecting the Items of the Expenditure, I have invariably found that impossible though I have made every effort particularly in travelling. The Expences in the midst of Business and Hurry are frequently forgot: And you are compell'd to reckon the gross Sum expended, Why does every Letter I receive contain complaints of the Murmurs of the Trade every thing goes on as well as can be expected and more than I can expect or ever did expect; The Bill was read a first time last Night, after 12 oClock when we had all left the House conceiving it would not be read from the lateness of the Hour, and the business before the House; Mr Vansittart and Lord Castlereagh are of opinion that Regulations should take place in our Trade The Bill will be read a Second time on Monday, we shall send you a Copy as soon as Printed, The Blanks are always filled up by a Committee of the whole House, and no otherwise on the third reading I mention this least the Bill should be misunderstood, The Members of the Committee will give their reasons for bringing in this Bill on Monday on the Second Reading, it being too late last Night

Large and me, in company with Mr Keck went to the Secy of States Office for the Home Department, and had an Interview with Lord Sidmouth, who assured us that it was the Inclination of the Prince Regent to give our Manufacture every encouragement in in his Power, that he had no Doubt that the Prince Regent, would wear our Stockings, Ornamented and give encouragement to that Fashion; Mind Lord Sidmouth requests that you would make him 6 Pair of Silk Hose for his Daughters the same Shamy as that made first, I mean the figured Shamy, that is the one with all Slit Holes, Mr Pages Shamy the same quality as those for the Prince make them Womens 26 Inches long, they will fit best, I cant explain the reasons why here. We shall go to Sir Thos Tyrwhit the Prince Regents blaster of Ceremonies to present the following Articles to the Prince in the Morning Viz

2 Pair Silk Stockings
One Silk Veil, Pearl Edge, 2- 2- 0
Black Silk Press 5- 10- 0
Black Warp Handkerchief 4- 4- 0
[Total] 11- 16- 0

All of which has been purchased in Town Lord Sidmouth bought a Double Press Cotton Shawl of us for his Daughter he would buy it, though we would have willingly presented it. He said repeatedly Success to your "Manufacture" Therefore my Lads there's no opposition in the Lords

You must send us some Money immediately. My journey to Dublin cost £12- 10s- 0 I have not been able to give you the result It is very important Remember Lord Sidmouth

Yours G Henson
 T Latham W Bowler T Large.

Thus you will discover the manner in which we are employed, while we are busy pushing our Goods, into the first Circles, Latham and Bowler are pushing the Bill through the House.

[Addressed to:] Mr. Thos Roper . . . Nottingham.

Sunday 24 June 2012

24th June 1812: James Oldroyd committed to York Castle for being involved in the attack on Rawfolds Mill

On Wednesday 24th June 1812, James Oldroyd was committed to York Castle, charged with being involved in the attack on Rawfolds Mill in April.

He was alleged to have been overheard boasting of his involvement 3 days before at the Black Bull in Mirfield. After the three men who heard him had failed to find a Constable that night, they wasted no time in reporting him to the authorities. A troop of Queen's Bays were sent from Huddersfield to arrest him on the evening of 23rd June, and he was examined by Joseph Radcliffe the following morning, who decided to commit him to York Castle the same day.

24th June 1812: General Acland gives orders to the special forces detachment of Captain Francis Raynes


Captain Raynes will proceed with the detachment under his command, this day, to Dukinfield; where he will endeavour to procure the best information in his power, respecting the state of the country, and the meetings of the Luddites: he will act according to circumstances, and quarter himself where he may chuse: he will remain no two nights in the same place; but is to keep in a constant state of movement; dividing his party, or keeping it together, as he may find it expedient: in short, the party is to be fixed no where. With a view to enable Captain Raynes to disperse any thing he may meet assembled, for any purpose connected with the present disturbances, one or two special constables are ordered by the magistrates, to attend Captain Raynes; which will be sufficient to enable him to act.

The site of Captain Raynes’s movements, will be from Ashton-under-Line, to Mottram and Stockport; and he may move whenever he has intelligence of a meeting, provided he has a constable.--The success of this measure, will consist of its secrecy and activity.

Captain Raynes will never state where he is going, and should always move in the night; and will, in a great measure, conduct his movements in such a manner, that the country may be strictly and regularly patroled within the circuit of his movements.

Captain Raynes will never let the officers, special constables, or any of his party, know where or when he intends moving.

He will communicate frequently with Major-General Acland, and particularly as often as he obtains any particular intelligence, or when any extra occurrence arises. Officers senior in rank to Captain Raynes, are directed not to interfere with him, in the execution of the duty entrusted to him. And officers and non-commissioned officers, having cavalry under their orders, are directed to furnish Captain Raynes with orderlies, for the purpose of communicating with head-quarters.

W. P. ACLAND, M.General.

Manchester, 24th June, 1812.

24th June 1812: John Lloyd informs the Home Office about the alleged instigator of the Manchester Exchange Hall riot


Stockport 24 June 1812


By last mail I sent you the Copy of a statement we have induced Yarwood to give in his own hand writing.—I now send you copies of Memorandums which I made prior to that, after a conversation I had with him, & as there are some facts therein (particularly the meeting at the Bridgewater Arms, & the Delegate Buslem, being a Local Militia Serjeant, I thought it right that you should be in possession of all; because with respect to the meeting held at the Bridgewater Arms, it was brought about by a disaffected Character of the name of Ottiwell Wood a wealthy man in Manchester, whose conduct have the effect of raising the first disturbance at Manchester where the Exchange Windows &c were broken, he having got the paper (“Now or Never”) printed to stir up the people to opposition. These were sent to be distributed at Stockport, and you will recollect I reported to you I had the Distributor taken into custody & bound over to the Assizes, taking from him many Quires of the Hand Bills, at which time I sent you one of the papers & another accompanies this.

It appears Woods name appears in the Books seized by Nadin at the Prince Regent’s Arms, where the 38 were found Assembled, & he has been questioned by the Justices & others greatly to his discomfiture.

Mr Watson consulted with Mr. Hay who referred him to counsel (Mr Evans of Manchester in the absence of Mr Cross, whom we had at Chester) & he advised Mr. Watson to commit John Brown the Publican of the Prince Regents, & altho’ not a strong Case, he has done so to Lancaster Castle.—

Yarwood at present is sent for Confinement to a House of Correction at Middlewich in this County, where we can if further and necessary have access to him.

I have the honor to be
Yr very obt.
Humble Servt.
J. Lloyd

P.S. No report Yorkshire at present.—

Saturday 23 June 2012

23rd June 1812: William Robert Hay sends the confession of the convicted Luddite Samuel Radcliffe to the Home Office

Police Office, Manchester 23 June 1812.


Not knowing whether the information contained in the accompanying paper has been transmitted to Government, I feel it to be my duty to send it. I have only received it from Mr. Higgins the Gaoler of Lancaster Castle by this mornings post. It is in account given by Samuel Radcliffe under sentence of transportation from the last Lancaster Assizes being concerned in the administration of oaths. He was the man who administered the Oath to Holland Bowden nr Holton as appeared from the evidence of one John Stones – appears to have been a leading man at the meeting on Dean Moor, and was proved to have afterwards been very active at the fire at West Houghton. On that charge however he was acquitted – his escape was a very narrow. Mr. Higgins has detained this man for the present, thinking that he may be very useful.

I have [etc]
WR Hay

[To] John Beckett Esqr.
Samuel Radcliffe says he has been a delegate from Bolton to Preston. The papers to be conveyed by a delegate are delivered by one of the Secret Committee of the Town or place into other hands by appointment. Thus after having gone through several hands, the person fixed upon as a delegate is told that he must go to a certain field where he will find a stick or mark, where the papers and counterpart Card are deposited. On finding them he takes with him the counterpart card and proceed to the Town or place, where, in an adjacent field he looks of the staff, stick or Mark, & if he finds the counterpart of his card, he there leaves the papers. This is generally done about 11 Oclock at night—He then goes into the Town & visits some of the weavers during the next day. The next night he resorts to the same place, & finds the papers to be returned. There were meetings held every 3 or 4 weeks, and if a delegate be detected or suspected, the signs, countersigns and counterparts are altered – he says the Gentleman at Manchester hold meetings for the district. That there is a considerable fund & many depôts for pikes which are particularly constructed. The Pike part is called the drill from its likeness to a blacksmiths drill or pointrell. The Crescent with two Edges is called the snigger. The whole pike consists of three parts & can be taken to pieces, & fits together by a socket, with a thorough pin & nut screw. It is the rule of the Union never to keep any books more than one night in a house the fear of a search; but every thing is kept out of doors. He does not doubt that there are many thousand Pikes made & deposited. All information is conveyed from Town to Town by the delegate Messengers; who are allowed about 5 [shillings] or 5 [shillings] 6 [pence] per day, & Coach hire, if necessary. He believes the Union extends from London to Nottingham, & from thence to Manchester & Carlisle. Small Towns line between principal places are not yet organized – such as Garstang & Burton. Only some of the Trades have taken the first Oath. He says there is a second Oath taken by superior persons. In the list of names transmitted there is a mark placed opposite the name to denote the possession of trade.

23rd June 1812: Major General Stevenson expresses concerns about the situation in the West Riding to the Home Secretary

Wakefield 23 June 1812

My Lord

In times like the present when the Government of the Country is in jeopardy, the important measures which imperious necessity calls for makes me believe your Lordship will not think a Letter on the subject troublesome. I have been here sometime Inspecting the Local Militia of this disturbed District (the West Riding) & I have found the Country in the State which I predicted last year on my return to London from this duty. I gave his R Hs the Duke of York a Letter upon the subject. He was struck with the Defenceless state of this populous Riding & proposed sending me to take the Command, but HM Ministers informed him last Septr that they had it not in contemplation to continue an Officer beyond the Three Inspection Months. HRH having thus fulfilled his Duty had nothing more to do than wait until Events should induce his M Ministers to direct Him to take some steps to check this Mischief of which he had been forewarned but not permitted to check, this observation does not apply to your Lordship but it is justice to the Comr in Chief who attends to the reports of his Generals and who would but [from] [them] at present my Lord I am sorry to say the Civil Power is parelized & the Democratical Party know it. They govern the Country by a System of Terror and make no hesitation in declaring their intentions of destroying such a Person or such a Property if any Informations are given by the Inhabitants, and they have in several instances carried these threats into execution, the Magistrates are afraid to Act, these Republicans (for such is their object) meet 2 or 3 times in the Week on the Moors at 12 oclock PM & generally Drill their Troops two Hours, the Magistrates say they have no other power than to recommend to the People to go quietly home. I have offered to march some Troops & take these people, but they say the Law will not authorize them—These Republicans are organized &, have regularly their Centinels on Duty, & demand the Countersign & [illegible], they have the regular System of War, should it unfortunately be true that, the Civil Power can only give good advice, instead of Proving the Protection of the Law, it, will prove the Cradle of the Rebellion, the Country is armed & should be disarmed, this measure would force the Rebels into Action before, they were ready, shd they resist, we shall know their strength and if they could not make resistance, would prevent the Rebellion breaking out, the Military Force of England is weak when compared to the Armed & well Drilled Population of England. Your Lordship will recollect that this year the, Services of most of the Local Militia expires, & that whole Regts of well disciplined Men are let loose — the Halifax Regt which I inspected last week, are as firm a Regt & as well disciplined as the Troops of the Line, above 700 of them have served their term, & will not re engage, their Officers have [tried] it, the Non Commissd Officers say the Men are all Luddites, & will join those disturbers of the Public Peace, your Lordship will receive some reports from the Neighbourhood of Halifax, of a serious nature — here I am obliged to Barrack Troops in the Villages around this place, my head Quarters here is in the midst of these Redressers—I could have reengaged many of the Local if Authorized to have paid them the £2. 20d on the day previous to the Expiration of their Drill, indeed my Lord it is necessary that Lieut Genl Grey should have discretional Powers, to enable him & his Generals to avail themselves of any favorable occurrences. The Local Militia shd have a longer term of Service, & the Age extended to 45 — the Volunteers shd be disbanded or obliged to do the Duty if Piquit with, the Regular Forces in every Market Town, the late Lord Melville told me that, was their duty, & called them Armed Constables, at present they are useless & expensive &, have only entered into that association to avoid the Militia. The Luddites have Emissaries going about the Country to gain Proselytes yet they keep so near the Pale of the Law that they cannot be taken up, as matters now stand (Mr Wendhams sentiment of a Vigor beyond the Law, Mr Pitt acted upon & kept the Country quiet, he then got a Bill of Indemnity passed — It is not generally understood that Livery Stable Keepers shd Billet Troops — this ought to be made Public as some Magistrates doubt it – and it becomes extremely necessary now, in Order not to separate the Troops when assembled for Exercise—I am concerned your Lordship will see the necessity of the Troops being withdrawn as much as possible from the People least they should be seduced from or neglect their Duty. I have told the Court of Lieutenancy here that I will give no Detachments to the Villages except they will Barrack them, as they would otherwise be assassinated. The Court have consented & when I have finished this Letter I shall get on Horseback & visit the Villages around this Place. I never can move Troops without the Spies of these Redressers communicating it to their Party—at this place Govermt ought to have a small Barrack that many good houses which might be bought Cheap for this purpose (provided it was not known for what purpose) & then if a Company of the Corps of Articifers were sent here to arrange & finish them the expense would be trifling—the Commg Officers would be able to buy the cheap as a Private Person who was going to reside — probably, as any Inspections will cease about the middle of next Month Genl Grey will direct me to proceed to London & report to the Comr in Chief all that has passed, or that I think may pass in this disturbed District. I have thrown these few observations on paper as I wish your Lordship to be of importance service to any Administration you may join I beg your Lordship to be assured of the respectable esteem & regard of your Lordships

Sincere friend & Humbl Servt
Chas Stevenson

[To] Viscount Sidmouth
& c &c

[From: Major General Stevenson]

23rd June 1812: Colonel Ralph Fletcher informs the Home Office about links between Huddersfield & Manchester

Bolton 23 June 1812

Dear Sir

The following Extract from B’s weekly report I think it proper to transmit
“Subscriptions are set on foot to relieve the 38 men committed from Manchester last Week — and also for the Relief of their Families. The Citizens say that the ablest Council in the Kingdom are returned to defend them — amongst whom are Scarlett—Williams—Brougham & Halley.

A Delegate from Glasgow past through Manchester on Tuesday 17th instant he is for London and says that the People think the time long & some of them are impatient for a Start whilst others relax in their Efforts as believing the Business cannot be done this Season—They have (taken in 40 miles round Glasgow) 56,000 men who can be depended on. He lamented the Blow given to the Cause by the Manchester Apprehensions & Commitments, as the then intended Petitioning might have united the Whole of the Country. He declined giving his address—but his Name is Robinson. He is about 5 feet 4 Inches high—dark complexion His nose rather sharp, about 40 years of age—dressed in Blue, with short Boots. He expects to return in Twelve days intending to pass through Leeds and to stop a day or two there if possible, and should cause Information to be sent to our Town such as is necessary to be known.”
B acquaints me that the Huddersfield Luddites—according to their Delegates report – have 300 Stand of arms in one depot and 225 Stand in another – also 9 Blunderbusses – and a vast (or abundance) of Pistols, which last they keep by them for an Emergency. When a General meeting takes place among them, he said, it consists of Captains of Hundred – and Commanders of Thousands—and these when sent on any Delegacy are sworn to Secrecy & to do their duty to the best of their power—There men are regularly classed in a thousand each—and Seven of such Classes to constitute a Legion—They (viz the Huddersfield Luds) will pay their Subscriptions towards defraying the Expenses of defending the Prisoners at Lancaster. B is directing his endeavours to discover the Depots before alluded to—and untill I receive his particular Communication in this respect – I think it will be unnecessary to mention it to General Maitland, but as soon as any probable Situation where these arms are collected can be ascertained I will lose not a moment in making the Information known to him according to your directions as contained in your last—I conveyed Job Fletchers declaration to the General on Saturday last—

My principal motive for troubling yourself this Communication – was to describe Robinson the Glasgow delegates person that if he could be recognized & watched to his hiding place in London it might be possible to grasp at the persons who compose the superior Committee there & their place of meeting

I have [etc]
Ra: Fletcher

To John Beckett Esqr

23rd June 1812: Francis Lindley Wood complains to Earl Fitzwilliam again about Luddite arms raids

Hemsworth June 23d 1812

My Lord,

I have the Honor to send herewith the Resolutions of the Meeting of Lieutenancy & Magistrates held yesterday at Wakefield, & once more to request your Lordship to lay them before the Secretary of State, or to transmit them to him with such observations as you think proper to be made there upon.—I have to state that the Meeting still retains the same firm Conviction as was expressed by the Meeting of the 11th inst: that without a Seizure of Arms from the Robbers, or some equally strong & unlooked for Measure sanctioned by his Majesty's Proclamation or by new legislative Provisions adapted to meet the present Emergency, no reasonable Hope can be entertained by the Magistrates of putting a Stop to the Extension of the present System of Outrage & Terror—I inclose a Statement made by 3 respectable Merchants from Elland as being the strongest, but by no Means the only Evidence since the 11th inst:, of the Prevalence & Continuance of this System in the manufacturing Districts of the Riding.—On the contrary the Magistrates & Lieutenants from the disturbed Districts repeated their former Statements & brought down their Instances to the 21st that the nightly Robberies of Arms, Lead & Ammunition are universal throughout the Districts bounded by the Rivers Calder & Aire, & that the drilling & training of the disaffected are carried on with increasing Activity.—The Deposition herewith sent shows in some Degree that a Sort of military arrangemt takes Place amongst these People, of which also the Impossibility of Approach to their Places of Exercise or Assembly as a much stronger Evidence.—I am urgently requested by the Magistrates & Lieutenancy to press upon the Consideration of his Majesty Secretary of State the Impossibility of their preserving in any Degree whatever the Peace of the Riding without the Aid of the whole force at present in this Neighbourhood, at the least — & they would be glad of some Answer as to the Doubts expressed by several of the Magistrates as to the Extent of the Powers in the Case of an armed Assembly of Men in the Night who do not, while observed, proceed to any other Breach of the Peace then may be supposed to arise from such Assembly at such a Time.—

I remain My Lord
Your most obedt faithful Servt.
Fras. L Wood

The Rt Honble
Earl Fitzwilliam

Friday 22 June 2012

22nd June 1812: Burglary at Whitley Upper, West Yorkshire

At 11.30 p.m. on Monday 22nd June 1812 a farmer, John Taylor of Whitley Upper, heard a gunshot somewhere outside his house in the darkness. Shortly afterwards he heard someone banging on his door and voices, demanding entry. The banging grew more violent - they were trying to break in. Taylor went to door and opened it. Four men rushed in, one of them brandishing a pistol, which now pointed at him. They wanted his keys and his money, and threatened to shoot him if he did not comply.

Taylor gave them his keys, and the men then ordered him to go upstairs and stay there. They lit and candle and set about finding Taylor's money. When they had finished, they bid him to come downstairs and fasten the door behind them.

Taylor later calculated that he had lost around £49 & 2 shillings.

22nd June 1812: Drunken boasts of involvement at Rawfolds lead to trouble at the Black Bull, Mirfield

Anti-Tesco protesters outside the Black Bull in August 2011
At 8 p.m. on the evening of Monday 22nd June, 3 men were returning from Wakefield to Elland, when they stopped at a coaching Inn, the Black Bull at Mirfield, for some refreshment. The men were a Mr Cartledge (of Brow Bridge, Elland), a Mr Ashworth and a Mr Woodhead.

The three men were taking a drink in one room, when they overheard a conversation from an adjoining room. One individual was speaking in a loud voice, and the content of his words made they stop their conversation and listen carefully. The man said "I was at Rawfolds on the night of the attack: I was engaged there, I was close by the two men that fell". The man went on to say "I was never engaged in any association or society in my life but that of General Ludd, I have ever been true to it, and I have been in it for three years". Another man retorted "hold thy peace, if there be a good trade and meal come down, Ned Ludd will die" which amused the group and they all laughed.

Cartledge, Ashworth & Woodhead were horrified. Ashworth said he would fetch a Constable, and left. Cartledge felt bold enough to get up and proceed to the adjoining room and challenge the men: up to 10 men were gathered there, and Cartledge asked who had spoken of Rawfolds and General Ludd. One of the men pointed to another man called James Oldroyd. In the meantime, Ashworth had returned without a Constable and the three travellers took Oldroyd into another room and questioned him. Oldroyd denied having spoken about Ludd and Rawfolds, and said he knew William Cartwright and could get a letter of recommendation from him if they thought he was a Luddite. Ashworth was not convinced, and thought his voice was the same as the one he had heard earlier that evening.

Despite being unable to find a Constable before they left, the three travellers from Elland were determined not to let their experience go unreported.

22nd June 1812: General Maitland gives orders for the use of Special Forces on the borders of Yorkshire, Lancashire & Cheshire

22nd June 1812

Dear Acland

We must certainly try some thing in the subject of that part of the Country above Ashton, I am entirely against sending the Captain of the Stirling (Raine) to remain any where, but having thought it over I think the advisable measure on the whole would be to send him out, with general Instructions to act, & to quarter himself as he may choose, to remain no two Nights in the same Place, but to keep in a constant State of Movement, dividing his Party if he chooses, or keeping it together as he may judge fitting, in short to be a Body in constant motion, fixed no where.

With a View to enable him to disperse any thing he may meet, assembled for any purpose connected with the present disturbances, it would be advisable, he should have always a Magistrate when he moves, but if this is impossible to be had, which I fear it is, I am instructed that the presence of a Special Constable is sufficient to enable him to act, & I should fancy there would be no difficulty in getting some one, to go with him, for the time, the special Constable ought not to be a Military Man.

The Site of his movements should be from Ashton under Line, to Mottram, & Stockport, & he may move wherever he has intelligence of a Meeting, provided he has a Constable, the success of this Measure will consist, in its Secrecy & Activity & I think ten days of it, will clear the whole of the Country where these Practices are now carrying on—

Write to me daily, & watch Raine closely.

Ever Your’s

T Maitland

Raine ought never to state where he is going, & should always move in the Night. You must make Mackay give him the necessary Routes, Blank, which he can fill up

Major Genl. Acland
&c &c &c

22nd June 1812: General Maitland writes to the Home Secretary with his view about Humphrey Yarwood

22nd June 1812

My Lord

The more I consider and the more I see, of all these untoward Events, the more I am convinced, there is no solid bottom in all this, and that what I stated, in my letter of 19th instant is nearly the accurate State of the Case—

A few days ago, a Man of the Name, of Yarwood, was taken hold of as connected, with those Practices, with a View, to his examination, and committment.

It was stated, that he was a Man, a very considerable Weight, and that he had been, very active, as Secretary, to some of their Associations. I suggested, how extremely important, it might be, to get at the information, such a Man, might be able to give, and proposed, that this line, should be tried, instead of at once committing him. Upon sending him, with this View, he appeared, to be willing to disclose every thing he knew, and I yesterday saw him, and conversed with him, at Stockport, on my Way here.

From his conversation, he struck me, certainly to be inclined, to speak out, and tell every thing he knew, for though the information he gave, certainly did not tend further to incriminate himself, than the having taken the Oath, still he seemed, to have, not the smallest objection, to give such information, with regard to the Individuals concerned, as must completely ruin him, among his Associates, and in fact, endanger his Life from them.

The Sum of every thing he stated, cannot be better described, than in saying, that it is nearly a counterpart, of the Declaration, made by Whitaker, now under Sentence of Transportation at Chester, which of course is in Your Lordship's Office, and which is extremely worth attending to, as it seems to me, as well as Yarwood's, to be a very natural account, of the Progress of the Thing, and stated, in Language, which could hardly be expected, from a Man of his Description.

Might it not be well, to consider, whether, if Whitaker, would give any further information of Importance, his Punishment, might not be carried into Force, provided he left the Country.

Yarwood, is a very shrewd, and intelligent Man, he is now writing out his own Account, of every thing he knows, in his own language, denies positively, any Money having been given, from any Quarter, except a Subscription among themselves, to a very inconsiderable Amount, which indeed, from every account I have, I believe to be correctly the fact, and I have no doubt, the whole of the accounts, we have had upon this Head, are either, totally groundless, or extremely exaggerated. When it is made out, it will be sent to Your Lordship.

I do not totally rely, upon this information, though I certainly think it was given in a Way, to warrant a considerable degree of Belief.

Where the Alarm is so great, and Fear so predominant principle, the Mind is naturally given to suppose, from the nature of the Oath, and the circumstances of the collecting of Arms, that there must be some principle of Action, and ultimate Object, of which we are as yet ignorant, but for my own part, I own, the strong bent of my feeling is, that the present State, has originated, and that it now exists, without either, any definite Object, or distinct End.

Your Lordship, must be well aware, how very easy it is, when Men get into these Clubs, and are associated for one purpose, to be directed by the Leaders to others, of a quite different Nature, and you are equally aware, how very difficult it is, when one drawn in, for Men to disentangle themselves, from these Measures, they may have rashly, and many of them undesignedly enter’d into.

It is not at all uncommon too, for the Leaders themselves, to be drawn by imperceptible Degrees, into Measures, the consequences of which, they had not weighed, and the Effect of which, they had not anticipated.

The definition I would be inclined to give, of the whole of this business, would be, that it originated in those constant efforts, made by these Associations, for many Years past, to keep up, the Price of the Manufacturers Wages, that finding their efforts, for this, unavailing, both from the circumstances, of the Trade, and the High Price of Provisions, they in a moment of Invitation, for which it is, but just to say, they had considerable Grounds, from the real State of Distress, in which they were placed, they began to think, of effecting that by Force, which they had ever been trying to do, by other means, and that in this State, the Oath was introduced. —

Every thing that has happened since, seems to me the Natural progress of this unfortunate line of Acting, and I believe the whole, to be certainly a most mischievous, but indefined, and indistinct attempt, to be in a State of preparation, to do that by Force, which they had not succeeded, in carrying into effect, as they usually did by other means.

The whole History of Manchester, for many Years past, strongly confirms me in this Opinion, as there is no Instance, of a considerable Stagnation of Trade, accompanied, by a high Price of Provisions, where something of the same kind has not ensued.

I am thoroughly satisfied, in my own Mind, that could we only get at some of the Heads, the thing would be squashed.

There is a Man of the name of Bulkeley, a Weaver, but a Calvinist Preacher, whose Seizure, would I think go a great length, to put is in possession, of every thing, that is to be known, and do more towards crushing it, than the Seizure of any other Individual.

We are now after him, and though he has absconded, I think he will be found out.—

I am thoroughly aware, there would be great difficulty, under present Circumstances, to pass any strong Act, before Parliament breaks up, indeed it will be difficult, to draw one upon the Subject, but if Power could be given any where, to seize Twenty Men, in the whole of the Disaffected Country, I am confident, the whole Scene would close.

As to Martial Law, or Suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, the great Remedies in every Bodies Mouth, I do not think, that if easy to be passed, the Situation demands it, and I would much rather leave it, as it is, than see those Measures resorted to, but if any Legislative Measure, would be adopted, vesting in any Quarter, the Power of seizing, a very few of the Heads, it certainly ought to be done.—

I wrote Your Lordship, the circumstance of the number of Arms, we have found in one search in the Country. It was a Measure carried on, under Warrant made out, with the View, to afford the well inclined a Picture, to give up their Arms, which they wished, but which they were afraid to do, without such a Pretence, which will give Your Lordship, pretty good Idea, to what Extent Fear is prevalent.

But it was carried into effect by the Constables, in truth, in a manner, to be a complete Seizure, as many were taken, from their possession by compulsion. This Your Lordship is aware, is not to be defended in Law, I am however not sorry it has taken place, as I doubt extremely, whether any of the Parties, will try, and prosecute, and should they not, it will be in my Mind, a very complete Proof indeed; of their want of Pecuniary means, and of their conviction of their own weakness.

I shall write to Mr. Becket, relative, to some Points, to which I wish an Answer.

I have [etc]

[To] Right Honble
Lord Viscount
&c &c &c

22nd June 1812: The weaver, Humphrey Yarwood, writes a statement for John Lloyd

As the Stockport Solicitor John Lloyd had informed the Home Office on Sunday 21st June 1812, the weaver and former Secretary of the Manchester Secret Committee, Humphrey Yarwood, had been left with paper, pen and ink to expand upon the information Lloyd had managed to extract from him previously.

He had been in custody for 5 days, and had been visited by figures such as Holland Watson, a Lancashire Magistrate and General Maitland. We do not know exactly what Lloyd did with Yarwood, but on the 22nd June, he wrote out a thorough confession of activities he had been involved in for the past few months.

The 'statement' itself is broadly similar to Lloyd's 'memorandum' of his conversation with Yarwood 3 days earlier. Once again, Yarwood makes John Buckley Booth the main protagonist of the whole affair, even going to far as to imply that he, the Secretary of the Secret Committee, did not play an active part it at the behest of Booth. The 'statement' then proceeds to go through the meetings and events of the past two months in much detail - indeed, this document forms a great deal of what we know about the transactions of the Committees in Manchester.

Yarwood mentions John Bent, Colonel Fletcher's spy 'B' on more than one occasion, corroborating what 'B' wrote in his reports to Fletcher. Yarwood makes it clear that Bent had stopped visiting him recently, and consequently he was not clear how involved he was in the petitioning in Manchester - Yarwood said that Bent had implied to him that he believed petitioning was a way to involve many more people than was previously possible, even if the objectives remained the same.

Yarwood had seemingly exhausted his recollections with this lengthy and literary statement, and no other desposition from him appears in the Home Office records. His fate was confirmed a few days later by John Lloyd.

[Before] 23rd June 1812: Poem 'The Tintwistle Weavers Daughter'

The Tintwistle Weavers Daughter

There was a weavers daughter born
When loaves were big and cheap
Work was forbid on a Monday
Tho work enough for keep

His daughter grew pretty and fine
On meat and bread he'd bring
And bloomed the human face divine
Her light sweet voice would sing

But your debts and taxes want pay'd
Coined of the poor and dead
Your Orders and council kill trade
And weavers cry for bread

So bent the daughter to her fate
From work she did not cower
She beam'd the yarn from Manchester
And dress'd the warp with flour

She beams the yarn from Manchester
And dresses warp with flour
The shuttle flies from morn til night
And rests at a late hour

From morn til night she cannot cease
Her life is nowt but toil
She has not time for love or sport
Her blooming flowers spoil

Still your debts and taxes want pay'd
Coined of the poor and dead
Your Orders and French wars hurt trade
And weavers cry out for bread

She bends no more to her poor lot
A life of nowt but toil
Enriching the mighty and great
While her own flowers spoil

She cries aloud her heros name
Her Sherwood hero Ludd
Will set a stop to wars and steam
And wages as they stood

22nd June 1812: Reward Notice for suspect in Horbury Riot

Riot at Horbury.

Whereas JOHN HEPWORTH, Waterman, of Horbury, near Wakefield, was a principal Cause of a RIOT at Horbury, on Wednesday last, and has hitherto escaped the Vigilance of the Constable—a Reward of TWENTY POUNDS will be paid to any Person or Persons who shall apprehend the said John Hepworth and deliver him to the said Constable.

The said JOHN HEPWORTH is a Dark-complexioned young Man, with a Scar or Mark on one Side of his Face, which makes him have a singular Appearance with that Eye, is 21 Years of Age, and stands about five Feet four Inches high.—The Reward will be paid by the aforesaid Constable.—Horbury, June 22, 1812.

22nd June 1812: Burglary at Briestfield, West Yorkshire

At midnight on Monday 22nd June 1812, a burglary took place in Briestfield (then Briestwistle) in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The Leeds Mercury of 27th June carried  a vivid report from their Huddersfield correspondent:
Last Monday about midnight, a great number of armed men, with their faces disfigured by broad black marks down each cheek and over the forehead, assembled near the dwelling-house of Mr. Fisher, a shop-keeper, at Briestwistle, in this neighbourhood, and after firing two guns or pistols, demanded admittance into Mr. Fishers house, which he refused. They then broke open the door, and two of them rushing into the house, seized Mr. Fisher, who had just got out of bed; they each presented a pistol to his breast, and threatened him with instant death if he stirred a foot. Not intimidated by this threat, Mr. Fisher rushed from them towards the door, when he was seized by other six men, who placing a sheet over his head, face and arms, kept him in that situation while their comrades ransacked the house, and took from his pocket-book bills to the amount of 116l. besides 20l. in notes and some cash; they also took a quantity of notes and cash out of a drawer, but to what amount Mr. Fisher does not exactly know. When the depredation was completed, the Leader cried out to the guard placed over Mr. Fisher, “Let him go; don't hurt him; we have got what we wanted, and we will bring it back in three months,” and immediately made off.

Thursday 21 June 2012

21st June 1812: The Stockport solicitor John Lloyd updates the Home Office on the examination of Humphrey Yarwood

Stockport 21st June 1812


By the advice of Genl. Maitland who came over hither to see me, I & Mr. Watson the Justice talked over Humphrey Yarwood the Prisoner we have Stockport, about giving Information, if he cd give any that was important & pledged ourselves and not taking advantage if it shod it not prove so — we left him to reflect upon it, & had him up again when he gave Information of several principal matters (impeaching Buckley & others) But he did not, in the opinion of myself the Genl or the magistrate, go sufficient lengths & he has been told so today & pen Ink & Paper allowed him to go on in the Prison by himself — Whatever it turns out upon shall be earlier apprized — as well as with what I have already taken down after the conversation with him—

Will you have the goodness to communicate this to Mr. Litchfield or Mr. Hobhouse if necessary.

The Postage is saved by troubling you — but I can make my communications in any way that may be most agreeable to you—

I have [etc]
J Lloyd

[To] J Beckett Esq
under Secy of State &c

Wednesday 20 June 2012

20th June 1812: More arms raids in Rastrick

In the evening of Saturday June 20th 1812, Luddites were again out in Rastrick conducting raids for arms. Several homes were raided, including the home of a John Oldroyd, where they obtained a horse pistol.

20th June 1812: Arms raid at the home of John Wood, Huddersfield

John Wood was a shopkeeper in Huddersfield. In the evening of Saturday 20th June 1812, a group of 20 Luddites entered his home and carried away a pistol and a small cask of gunpowder.

20th June 1812: The Framework-knitters of Dublin refuse to back the Midlands framework-knitters Bill to Parliament

1812. June 20



We the Framework knitters of the City of Dublin are happy to have it in our power to Acquaint you that Mr. Gravesnor Henson arived in this City on the 15th Instant P:M: and on the 16th made known the Object of his mision to the Master and Secy, of trade on which a general meeting of Trade was convened where He most abelly Submitted his important business, Sir, While we deplore the numberless Calamitys which has Befallen our trade in the Sister kingdom we cannot Avoid expressing our general astonishment at they people who framed the Bill that is now pending before the Committee of the House of Commons, Sir, they had no Right to incorporate Great Britain and Ireland we never Sought for this incorporation we are already a Corporate Body we do not practice any of those evils which you so loudly and Justly complain of. No Sir, we have no cut up work or fraudulent work made of any description the evil Originated with your Selves We have no Coults nor Women working with us, each Man must Serve his Regular Seven years before he will be Allowed to get Journey work, therefore Sir, we have nothing to petition for as Mr. Henson so Streanously Sought for, we have our full prices as contained in the Book of Rates delivered to Mr. Henson of which you are to get a copy from him Sir, we Request you will Write off to London [with] all possible Speed to have the word Ireland expunged from the Bill if not we must immediately have Resourse to our Representatives in the Imperial Parliament that we have nothing to do in the Business as we do not feel ourselves agrieved by our employers as you are by yours So I Remain

Yr. Humble Servt.
Richd. Gray Secy.

[To Thomas Roper, Nottingham]

20th June 1812: The Home Secretary writes to General Maitland with worries about spies from Wiltshire


Whitehall 20 June 1812

My dear Sir,

Your public letter receive yesterday shews that the Exertions & Examples which have been made have not proved effectual to the degree we had hoped for: but I am confident that the Course which you have recommended, and are pursuing, is the best, and indeed the only rational one for accomplishing the object in view—many days, I am sure, will not elapse before you will have acted upon the intuition intimated in your Public letter of the [blank]. It is in parts of the West Riding that there appears to be the greatest degree of licentiousness & Violence, and the least exertion on the part of those by whom every Effort ought to be made to resist the Outrages, and discover the Authors:—There the Magistrates and Inhabitants seem to be Panic-Struck, and Government is reproached the not resorting to measures the most rash, and, under present Circumstances, unwarrantable, because those, who are on the Spot, will not employ the means which the law has placed in their hands.

It will not be possible, I fear, to find in Wiltshire such a number of competent Persons as you have named: but I hope that the deficiency may be supplied by a Contribution from some of the Manufacturing Parts of Gloucestershire, whither Bathurst is to go at the beginning of next week: but the Inhabitants of those parts have not the Sharpness of Understanding nor the determination of Character which belong to those of the North, and it is therefore very difficult to find amongst them Persons fit for the purpose.

Your suggestions respecting the mode of Communication are very clear and satisfactory.

I am in haste and can only add that I am

My dear Sir

the honorable
Lieut: Genl. Maitland

20th June 1812: Prisoners at Lancaster Castle sent to the Prison Hulks

On Saturday 20th June 1812, the Lancaster Gazette reported that a number of prisoners sentenced to transportation at the recent Lancaster Special Commission had been removed from the Castle and sent to the Prison Hulks in the previous week. They named them as: John Fisher, James Knowles, Thomas Holden, Samuel Crossley, John Hope, John Hurst, Christopher Medcalf, James Brierley, Henry Thwaite, Joseph Greenhalgh, Thomas Pickup and John Burney.

20th June 1812: General Maitland reports to the Home Office that he has confiscated arms in the Stockport area

20th June

My dear Lord.

I had the honor, of addressing Your Lordship yesterday, on the Subject, of the State, of this Country.

In consequence, of the seizures of Arms, by the disaffected, it was judged, advisable, to issue, such Authority, by the Magistrates, as might appear, to be a call, on the different People, so disposed, to give up, for a time, their Arms, to prevent them, being seized, by the Disaffected.

This measure, was carried into effect, yesterday, in the Neighbourhood, of Stockport, and produced, to my great astonishment, a collection, little under 200, including those, that had been taken, by the Disaffected, in the same Quarter.

This seems to me, to be, a Fact, of extreme Importance, for Government, to be aware of, as I certainly, myself, could have had, no Idea, such a Quantity of Arms, existed in the Country.

We hear constantly of their Meetings, and I have at this present moment, information of some, that are intended, where they invariably, have Speeches made to them, similar to those, already before your Lordship, from various Quarters.

I cannot help, thinking some thing, should be done, if possible, to prevent, their getting hold, of the Fire Arms, which seems to be their only View. The Night before last, they got hold, of the Barrel, of Gunpowder, but did no other injury, to the Manufactury, from which they took it.

I am trying, what is possible, to get out of the best informed, in the line of Information, and have hopes, that we may succeed, to a considerable extent, in a very short time.

I find this day, that the effect, of the suspension, has only shewed itself in the coarser Manufactured Commodities, for the American Market, to the extent of nearly 10 Per Cent, and I hear that the measure, of taking off the Bounty, on Printed Callicoes, is generally considered, as a very fair Tax, and has been attended, with this effect, that the demand, is very great indeed, with a View, to the Exportation, antecedent to the Bounty, being taken off.

I am [etc]

I am going to Buxton for a few days, which is equally near the Scene of Disturbances, as this, to try the Waters, for the Rheumatism where I request I may be directed to—

[To] Right Honorable
Lord Viscount
&c &c &c