Sunday, 4 November 2012

4th November 1812: The Stockport solicitor, John Lloyd, seeks a pardon for the informer William Hall

Stockport [near]
Manchester Nov. 4, 1812


A circumstance yesterday came to my knowledge which will require consideration, and, altho’ you may not deem it of sufficient importance to occupy your attention, it is nevertheless my duty to make it known.

Wm Hall, a principal Witness against the murderers of Mr. Horsfall has declared to me that he was twisted in (as they term it) prior to any outrage being committed by the Luddites in the neighbourhood of Huddersfield by a man of the name of *Bottomley, who took him to the Cross Keys in Huddersfield, along with Thomas Smith, one of the murderers, and there in the presence of Jno Walker+, he administered the oath, which Hall recollects to be the same I read over to him (the common oath) but he can state sufficient particulars from his own memory. Bottomley said they called it twisting-in, as they durst not call it swearing-in. Now at the same time that it is extremely desirable to get at Bottomley, who is the person the Murderer, Wm Thorpe, relies upon to prove an alibi for him, and because Hall says he was at the Head of 10 that were sworn & every one sworn was to swear in a like number & B at the Head, still it wou’d be risquing the credibility of Hall, I fear, to take his Information in writing—Since he did not avail himself of the proviso in Act of Parliament within the limited time—

He feels that he is now obliged to declare every thing but I have cautioned him in this respect till I can know your sentiments—If he is silent it might may not be known by the Counsel who may have to cross-examine him — & it wou’d be singular to question him upon the trial with a view to his criminating himself — It is true that Hall stands already in the situation of an accomplice, in different felonies & in accepting in the murder but he can be corroborated and will be received no doubt — if the taking an unlawful oath and conceiving it will not affect his competency.

Cou’d a pardon now be obtained to him and some of the Witnesses under similar Circumstances upon a complete Confession being given? If this were allowed Bottomley may be fixed for the oath, and Hall corroborated & confirmed by the Landlord or some others of credit seeing them together.

You will perhaps honor me with your advice in a day or two addressed to me at Stockport.

I will endeavor to send my observations upon the Cases for trial herewith & trust you will not be offended at the Liberty I shall take in making remarks, which will naturally arise to be made by those more competent before whom they will have to be placed.

As I understand it will be suggested to the Secy of State by Genl. Maitland to send the Treasury Solr. down to make up & select the Cases for Prosn at York, I venture to offer a journey to Town to prevent that trouble, if inconvenient on the one hand, or at all advantageous to the Solr. on the other.

I have [etc]

J Lloyd

[To] J Beckett Esqr.

*The same whose Examn I have transmd taken in defence of Thorpe
+now at York Castle

This letter can be found at HO 42/129.

No comments:

Post a Comment