Sunday, 15 July 2012

15th July 1812: Captain Francis Raynes has a meeting with General Maitland

On Wednesday 15th July 1812, the commander of the Special Forces detachment of the Stirlingshire Militia based at Mottram in Cheshire, Captain Francis Raynes, was invited to breakfast with General Maitland at Buxton in Derbyshire, to discuss his progress. Raynes wrote about the meeting some years later:

General Maitland, at this time, considering my reports to wear an aspect of greater importance, required a communication with me in person; and, by the order here inserted, I waited upon him at Buxton, to breakfast, a distance of eighteen miles.

I there made a report to the General, of some attempts on the part of the Luddites, to tamper with the soldiers. I had stationed two of them at Ashton-under-Line, for the purpose of instructing dragoons where to find me: these were acute fellows, and soon understood the duty we were upon. In a little time, they made an acquaintance with some persons in the neighbourhood, who shortly proved themselves deeply engaged in the disaffected cause. Upon the soldiers informing me of the conversations they had held with these men, I ordered them to keep up the intimacy they had formed, and, by appearing to approve their sentiments, to induce them to become communicative. By degrees, my men worked themselves into their confidence; and, at the time I now speak of, these Luddites had got the length of offering to twist-in the two soldiers who were, on their part, to furnish them with what ammunition they could, give up their arms, and desert; for which purpose, they were to be furnished with a disguise by their new friends.

On reading the minutes I had made, of information obtained in this manner, which corroborating circumstances proved to be correct; and after I had made a report of what I was doing in other quarters, Gen. Maitland was pleased to express his entire approbation, and desired me to proceed in the methods I had adopted. The general ordered me to send the two soldiers, James Robinson and Roderick Monro, over to Buxton, as he wished to see them himself; and, at the same time, told me to give them two guineas each, as a reward for their good conduct.

Although I returned from Buxton to my party, the same evening, and had not mentioned to any one where I was going, the next day it was perfectly well known where I had been. I mention this, to shew the vigilance with which the Luddites observed our movements.

This is from Raynes (1817, pp.45-48).

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