Thursday, 12 July 2012

12th July 1812: John Baines warns the spies McDonald & Gossling about undercover Bow Street officers

On Sunday 12th July 1812, the two police spies from Manchester, Gossling and McDonald, were wandering about Halifax when they again met John Baines the elder, the republican hatter who had 'twisted-in' McDonald 4 nights before.

Baines looked worried and asked Mcdonald how he was - he then came closer and told the two men in a quiet voice that they must take care, as he had been informed that two Bow Street police officers were in the town.

The spies must have smiled inwardly at the irony of the  real truth of what the unwitting Baines had said.
This is from Howell (1823, pp.1082-1084). Once again, McDonald & Gossling deputed the date of the meeting with Baines to be 'one or two days' after their last one.

The Times of 7th July 1812 had carried a report "that two Bow Street officers have been in the neighbourhood of Huddersfield for nearly three weeks past, and that they had been twisted in". The Leeds Mercury of the 11th July 1812 took issue with other details of the report in the Times, but agreed "two Police officers have been in (Huddersfield) in disguise for some time".

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