Friday, 2 November 2012

2nd November 1812: Captain Francis Raynes writes of a Luddite plot to attack a Mail Coach

Old Hall near Mottram
2 November 1812


I have the Honor to inform you, I was not able to see Clough till last night. The account he gave me of an intended attack upon the Mail Coaches, is as follows. He was in company in Manchester with a man of the name of William Penrick, he said to Clough “a Blow will soon be struck, they (the Ludds) intend to enter into a new plan. The Mail Coaches are to be stop’d” Clough replied, “what will the Guards be doing.” Ah, they are the same as us, they are Brethren. As soon as the information reach’d Manchester Clough saw Penrick again; the latter said, “well was not I right? you see the Leeds Mail has been stop’d. Clough says whatever this man has told him, it generally proved correct. I consider Sir, Cloughs information to be of the utmost consequence and have sent him to Manchester, to throw himself (as if by chance) into the company of Penrick. He will probably return to me tonight, should he, I will instantly forward the particulars of his conversation with Penrick.

I have [etc]
Francis Raynes Captn
Stirling Militia

Major General Acland
&c &c &c

This letter can be found at HO 40/2/1. At the end of October 1812, the robbing of a Mail Coach bound for Leeds had been a national sensation, reported in most newspapers.

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