Monday 31 December 2012

31st December 1812: An informer, 'A friend to peace', sends an anonymous letter to the magistrate, Joseph Radcliffe

On the last day of 1812, an anonymous writer penned a letter containing information about Luddites in the Huddersfield area to the West Riding magistrate Joseph Radcliffe. Signed only as 'A friend to peace', the letter was well-written and offered information about names that would not be unfamiliar to Radcliffe or any of the authorities hunting Luddites.

The letter started out by stating that Luddites were recruiting large numbers of people to act as witnesses and to give false evidence at the forthcoming Special Commission so as to 'Contradict the real truth'. In particular, it singled out James Brook, a Lockwood cropper on trial for being involved in the attack on Rawfolds Mill, and said a witness would say Brook was with them that night.

The writer said that Brook's brother, John, was one of the 'most ... desperate characters amongst the Luddites': that he had joined with George Mellor's cousin, Joseph, to shoot at the windows of George Armitage; that he had been involved in almost every incident of frame-breaking in the West Riding except two of the initial attacks on Hirst and Balderstone. The writer stated that John Brook had even acted further afield in the attacks at Gildersome and Southowram, as well as participating in an arms raid. The informer also accused Brook of being the second man that was involved in the shooting of John Hinchliffe.

The informer went on to name 'principal schemers and planners' amongst the Luddites. Three of them were master cloth-dressers from Salford in the West Riding: William Hargreaves, Joseph Beaumont and George Richardson. Beaumont and Hargreaves had also been named as 'principal people' by Francis Vickerman when he was interviewed by John Lloyd in October. The writer also named Thomas Ellis, the woolstapler that George Mellor had written to from York Castle, and Mellor's step-father and employer, John Wood as key men. The writer also said that John Brook  had been involved in an arms raid with a man called Luke Bradley of Armitage Fold. Vickerman had similarly named Wood & Bradley as 'leading' men.

However, the writer was concerned to put boundaries around the extent of their future involvement in providing information: they plainly stated that they did not want to become a witness for the prosecution, and since the information had been obtained 'second hand' they could not stand as such anyway. The writer's stated motivation for providing information perhaps indicated that they were a person familiar with Luddism, even if at one remove - they described 'the late atrocious attempt on Joseph Mellor at Dungeon Bottom' as a key factor, even though they had just named him as a Luddite involved in direct action.

The writer ended their letter with a tentative postscript: "if circumstances require you may perhaps hear from me again".

31st December 1812: Attempted sabotage of Blenkinsop's Steam Engine on Hunslet Moor, near Leeds

A detail from 'The Collier' by Richard Havell (1814). This aquatint from George Walker's 'The Costume of Yorkshire' shows 'Blenkinsop's Machine', at Middleton Colliery near Leeds, in the background. This print is perhaps best known for it's use as the cover illustration for a past edition of E.P. Thompson's 'The Making of the English Working Class'
Some time during Thursday 31st January 1812, an attempt was made to derail John Blenkinsop's steam engine, which operated between Leeds and the Middleton colliery. Blocks of stone and loose iron rails were laid across the track near to Leeds Pottery. Although some of the machinery was broken, there were no injuries.

Four days later, Blenkinsop offered a reward of 50 Guineas for information that would lead to the conviction of the saboteurs.

Sunday 30 December 2012

30th December 1812: The Treasury Solicitor sends a Luddite membership card up to the Home Office

The 'Ticket' mentioned in Hobhouse's letter: the motto under the crest is 'Taisez Vous' ('Keep Quiet')

Dear Sir,

The inclosed Ticket has been put into my Hands by Mr. Woodcock of Mansfield, who lately received itfrom a man in his Employ. Mr. W. states it to be a Ticket of Admission into a Society, in which the person alluded to has recently been admitted by the Directions of Mr. W. The Arms are stated to represent an Union of Ireland, Scotland, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, & Yorkshire. The Loom at the Bottom, the Hammer by way of Crest, & the Motto, probably bespeak the Objects of the Society. I desired Mr. Woodcock as soon as he should have acquired any Information fit for Lord Sidmouth’s Attention, to communicate it to you; & am

Dear Sir
Yours faithfully
H. Hobhouse

Linc. Inn
Dec. 30. 1812

[To] J Beckett Esqr

30th December 1812: Rising number of Luddite incidents in Nottinghamshire

The 2nd January 1812 edition of the Morning Post carried an article dated Wednesday 30th December 1812 which related the increasing number of Luddite incidents that had taken place in Nottinghamshire over the last month:

NOTTINGHAM, DEC. 30.—No less than eight violent outrages have been committed at Beeston, New Radford, [Watnall], Arnold, and Mansfield, and in some villages on the south side of the Trent. The objects of these attacks have been the destruction of frames; at each place the outrages have been put into execution by numbers of disguised men, armed with pistols and swords, using personal violence on the individuals of their revenge, threatening their lives if they open their lips; and after placing guards over these unfortunate people, destroyed their frames and then escaped undiscovered.

In the town of Mansfield, poor woman, on denying a frame demanded by this lawless banditti, was stabbed in several places, afterwards knocked down, and left for dead. Several of the depredators, who committed the outrage at [Watnall], have been taken, and committed to the jail in this town. A large meeting of the Magistrates of the county has taken place, and the strongest measures resorted to, to provide against these disorders. The Watch and Ward Bill is to be put into force immediately. The military have been again called on, the same as upon former occasions, to guard over the property of the inhabitants, and every other precaution, as patroles, &c. &c. &c.

Saturday 29 December 2012

29th December 1812: The Town Clerk of Nottingham writes to the Home Secretary about the recent Luddism in Nottingham

My Lord

On my Return from a Journey, into Lancashire on Business I have the honor of receiving your Lordship’s letter of the 26th of December and have conferred with the Magistrates of this Town on the subject of it. The Information communicated by General Maitland to your Lordship I believe came thro’ me as far as concerns the Frame broken in this Town tho’ the medium of General Hawker's Major of Brigade, and was given for the purpose of being communicated to your Lordship.

I am desired by the Magistrates to inform your Lordship that as far as the extent of their Jurisdiction they had previous to the violation of the Public Peace to which your Lordship’s letter has allusion, taken every means in their power short of reestablishing the Military Patroles to obtain Information as to the authors of this mischief. I have endeavoured to employ every means in my power to possess myself of knowledge as to the source and origin from whence these outrages have arisen but at present without effect. Having been entrusted with the execution of the system so successfully pursued by the Corporation of Nottingham and the Committee appointed by them for the suppression of these disturbances, in the course of the last Winter, I have experienced ever since the passing the Act of Parliament which made it death to break Frames the immense and increased difficulty the severity of that law has placed, in the way of obtaining Information as to the proceedings and Views of these Persons. I am desired by the Mayor to state to your Lordship that the Magistrates of the Town cannot act without the Boundaries of Nottingham and that considering the delicate nature of their situation with the County Magistrates having concurrent Jurisdiction within the Town they must feel themselves imperiously bound on no occasion to overstep the Limits which the Law has placed to their authority. The moment any fresh disturbance occurs the Mayor will direct me to apprize you of it, and in the mean time every means will be used to detect, and secure the Offenders.

It is at the same time proper to state that the Trade of this Town is in the most lamentable state and the distresses of the poor, and working Classes severe beyond the power of description.

We do not still think that the breaking of the present Frame originates, in a widely spread organized plan like the Outrages committed last Winter, but that they have been committed by Persons, infinitely more contemptible in point of Number who have been stimulated by the desire of deterring the Manufacturers from such Practices in the Trade as are unpopular with the labouring Mechanics.

I have [etc]

Geo Coldham
Town Clerk

29th Decr 1812

[To] The Right Honorable Lord Sidmouth
&c &c

Friday 28 December 2012

28th December 1812: Days before George Mellor's trial, Joseph Mellor is attacked twice in the same evening

George Mellor's cousin, Joseph, was due to give evidence at George's Trial at the York Special Commission, which would commence in but a few days time.

At 10.00 p.m. on Monday 28th December, Joseph was riding his horse home, and about to enter Dungeon Wood when he was accosted by up to two people. One of them grabbed the bridle of his horse, but Joseph lashed out at the person, making them loosen their grip - he then spurred his horse and rode home at speed.

An hour later, having calmed down, he went out into his garden at home for a smoke of his pipe. Suddenly, he heard the crack of a pistol or musket, and in an instant the sound of a bullet striking the wall near to him. Terrified, he quickly ran back inside.

Someone wanted to either kill or intimidate Joseph - one way or the other, they didn't want him to give evidence at his Cousin's trial. Within a day, General Acland had posted a guard at his house.

28th December 1812: General Maitland reports more Nottinghamshire Luddite attacks to the Home Office

28th Decr 1812

My dear Sir

I this morning received your very satisfactory letter, and am sorry to inform you, what will have probably reached you ‘ere now, that there have been four other Frame breaking Scenes at and near Nottingham

If this continues, I shall certainly go there myself, but I am not without hopes, that having found out four of the Parties concerned, it will put a stop to it, for if they make a proper use of these Gentlemen, I have no doubt, at least one of them will give Information of the whole Set, which is the only mode of stopping and getting to the bottom of all this.—

I hope your Brother means when the Commission is over to renew for a time limited, the Pardon for Illegal Oaths—

I am [etc]
T Maitland

[To] Rt: Honble
Hiley Addington
&c &c &c

Thursday 27 December 2012

27th December 1812: The Duke of Newcastle writes to the Home Secretary about recent Luddism in Nottinghamshire

Decr 27. 1812

My Lord

Your Lordship has not only been informed that the destruction of frames has lately been renewed in this County. Three or four instances of this nature have lately occurred and certainly under aggravated circumstances, but I have every reason to hope that the evil disposed are very few in number and pretty well known. A very desparate gang of 12 or 14 or at most 20 were known to hang together for some time and were intent upon committing every species of outrage, I am in great hopes that it will be found that the late mischief has been committed by these people and that it is confined to them alone.

The operation of the Watch & Ward bill is only suspended and may be renewed instantly if necessary, the effect of the operation of this Bill must be so productive of benefit that I think it will be found expedient, as a cautionary measure at any rate, again to put it in force; if any further mischief is done there will be no doubt of the propriety of enforcing it immediately—

I am in hopes that the general disposition or temper of the people is continually changed for the better—

I have [etc]

[To] Viscount Sidmouth
&c &c

Wednesday 26 December 2012

26th December 1812: General Acland gives suggestions for the fate of Mellor, Thorpe & Smith to the Home Office

Huddersfield 26 December 1812.

My dear Sir.

If thought advisable to execute the murderers on the Spot where the offence was committed, I conceive the bodies may be convey’d to the Infirmary at Leeds for dissection, it will be most acceptable to the Medical Practitioners there—

It is also very probable Medical [men] may easily be found who would come over here for that purpose, but I think no resident Surgeon here could be found to undertake it.

The Infirmary at Leeds strikes me as the most Eligible way of disposing of them — if it is not thought too distant.

I remain Yrs &c
Wroth: P Acland

H. Hobhouse Esqr
Lincoln’s Inn

26th December 1812: Warning signed 'Ned Ludd' posted in Melbourne, Derbyshire

After the raid on Thomas Mitchell's workshop in the early hours of Boxing Day, 26th December 1812, when the Derbyshire town of Melbourne awoke, they found a notice posted in 'a conspicuous part of town'. The notice was signed by 'Ned Ludd' and warned hosiers that vengeance against their property and person would be meted out to them if they demanded work at a rate lower than the agreed prices.

26th December 1812: 10 stocking-frames broken by Luddites in Melbourne, Derbyshire

At midnight on Saturday 26th December 1812, Derbyshire Luddites conducted their first raid in almost a year. a 'large party' of Luddites arrived at the workshop of Thomas Mitchell as Christmas Day was passing into Boxing Day and forced open the door, which lay 30 yards from Mitchell's house. Eleven stocking-frames occupied the upper floor of Mitchell's workshop, and the Luddites destroyed ten of them - windows were broken and the remains of the frames deposited through them. Unfinished work left in the frames was cut up and destroyed.

Mitchell had heard the commotion and came to his bedroom window - Luddites outside the workshop threatened him and waved a pistol at him. They then proceeded to break into his house by destroying a window and set about destroying earthenware and a looking glass.

Three hour after the raid had commenced, the Luddites proceeded to the house of Matthew Nall, 100 yards distant and started breaking a window, but they were disturbed in some way and decided to flee.

Some time later, a hatchet marked 'WC' was found in Mitchell's workshop.

Monday 24 December 2012

24th December 1812: General Maitland writes to the Home Office about the resurgence of Luddism in Nottinghamshire

24th Decr 1812

My dear Sir

I am sorry to inform you that I last night received a Report from Major General Hawker, stating that two Frames had been broke, one on the 19th and one on the 21st Inst: and that in both instances the People themselves and their Neighbours have shewn the greatest Apathy upon the occasion.

The one broke on the 19th was broke in the House next to a Constable in Nottingham, the one on the 21st at Beeston where Troops are quartered was broke and the Men off upwards of half an hour before Information was given.

These Outrages of themselves are of little moment unless as they may be considered as a commencement of another Scene like what passed last Year.

If there are any more instances of it, it will be necessary to make the Magistrates more active by writing to them on the Subject; but I shall say nothing more at present as expect to hear further this day.—

I am [etc]
T Maitland

P: S: I have not yet heard any thing further—

10 PM
T Maitland

John Beckett Esqr
Under Secretary of State
&c &c &c

Sunday 23 December 2012

23rd December 1812: General Maitland reacts strongly to news that Joseph Radcliffe may be made a Baronet

23rd December

My dear Sir

I find Lord Fitzwilliam has written a letter to Radcliffe, asking him if he would like to be made a Baronet, to which, he has said “Yes”, and in consequence of which I suppose Application will be forthwith made to Lord Sidmouth. This I am extremely sorry for, particularly as the whole of the Story is circulated all over the Country, and it appears to me susceptable of interpretations, that must be extremely inconvenient to Government, for whether we look at it in the View of its bribing Magistrates to do their Duty, or with a view to the numerous Applications that will fall upon you from other Quarters, I am convinced you will agree with me, that at all events, it would have been more judicious not to have done it at the present time.

I gave the Money to Cartwright yesterday, and have got a Note from him saying he has received it.

I am more and more convinced, we will find, that the Gang we have lately attacked, has perpetrated all the Robberies had taken place; but I shall be able to state this more fully in the Course of a few days.—

I am [etc]
T Maitland
[To] J. Beckett Esqr.
Under Secretary of State
&c &c &c

Friday 21 December 2012

21st December 1812: Stocking-frame broken in Beeston, close to where troops stationed

Although the number of incidents were low in comparison with the year before, Nottinghamshire Luddites were recovering their boldness. A raid mounted in the evening of Monday 21st December 1812 demonstrated that well.

Eight Luddites entered the home and workshop of Henry Cox, who was not at home, although a woman was present. One of the Luddites stood guard over her, whilst the remainder went upstairs to the workshop where they destroyed a 34 gauge stocking frame which belonged to a framesmith called Turner from Nottingham. For good measure, the Luddites also took away a rack and treble tackle (worth 7 shillings 6 pence), a brand new saw, 2 pairs of pliers, 1 pair of scissors, a spoke shave, a pair of point moulds (which belonged to a 30 gauge from the property of Mr Hovey), a wrench and four bobbins of silk.

The raid was particularly daring because troops were stationed 150 yards away, and the Luddites passed the New Inn on their way to Cox's house: despite the fact that 14 men were stood in around the door of the pub, none of them intervened or raised the alarm with the troops. Eventually, the alarm was raised with the authorities, but 30 minutes after the Luddites had left.

Thursday 20 December 2012

20th December 1812: 2 stocking frames broken in Arnold

In the evening of Sunday 20th December 1812, 2 stocking-frames were broken by Luddites in the original site of the Luddite disturbances, Arnold.

20th December 1812: General Maitland infoms the Home Office about the success of apprehending suspects for the burglaries

20th December

My dear Sir

I have seen Lloyd, and he persists that the New Cases stated to you by Acland, are the best we have hitherto had. I hope it may turn out so, and I am inclined to think them strong, as far as I am able to judge at present; but if they had gone more slowly and quietly to work, it would have been much better.

Let these Cases however turn out as they may, the having broke into this Set, is in itself an immense Object, and I think we will find in the long run, that it is the last of these nefarious Gangs.—

There is an Idea, that there is another at Elland and that Neighbourhood; but I own I doubt it, and I think it will turn out that all Robberies have emanated from this Set.

One comfortable part of it, and which shews how much their System is broken into, is the ease with which it has been traced out, indeed from the perpetuation of the last Robberies it was not more than two days before we got our original information.

As far then as this System of Plunder goes, we are certainly [improving]; but what will give us more Aid than any thing, is the very great change that has already taken place in consequence of the Russian News, every thing is up, and I understand that in some of the Cotton Parts of the Country they are even working long Days.

Here the People from having nothing to do are full of business, if this continues all will go well, notwithstanding the high Price of Provisions.—

I shall write you again tomorrow.—

I am [etc]
T Maitland
[To] John Beckett Esqr
&c &c &c

Wednesday 19 December 2012

19th December 1812: Stocking frame broken in Nottingham

In the evening of Saturday 19th December 1812, frame-breaking returned to the town of Nottingham for the first time in months. A single cotton-lace frame was broken by Luddites.

19th December 1812: General Acland informs the Home Office about the suspects committed for the recent robberies

Huddersfield 19th December 1812.

My dear Sir.

I had in part anticipated your wishes previous to the receipt of your note to the 15th Inst—

But the cases were thought so good against

William Hill
Joseph Crowther
Job Hay
William Hartley
Nathan Hoyle

that they were committed yesterday and are gone this morning to York Castle.

Mr. Lloyd told me previous to commitment the cases were so strong, he should have no difficulty in going to trial at any time. The most doubtful case I apprehend to be Hoyle’s. The others acknowledge generally or in fact.

James Hay & [Carter] are committed to Wakefield, [Carter] is admitted on Evidence—Hay seems not only willing to speak out, but certainly can give much information, however whether it may be advisable to allow it now or after conviction Mr. Hobhouse will be the judge, to whom Mr. Lloyd rights by this Post & sends up the examinations — from whom you will therefore get particulars now fully detail’d, [till] I am enabled to do—

Three others are recommitted for further examination on Monday, but as far as any opinion can be form’d at present, it is most probable they will then be discharg’d—

I wrote to General Maitland on Thursday, but as I find he was to leave London yesterday, I take the liberty of sending you for Lord Sidmouth’s information a copy of my letter with an enclosure—

But as General Maitland during his stay in London is in daily communication with you, I consider’d it more regular to correspond with him, than to intrude myself unnecessarily on Lord Sidmouth or Yourself.

believe me My dear Sir
Yrs most faithfully

Wroth: P: Ackland

[To] J. Beckett Esqr
&c &c &c

19th December 1812: The Leeds Mercury reports the committal of a new suspect in the Deighton & Fartown robberies

The Leeds Mercury of Saturday 19th December 1812 reported that a shopkeeper from Elland called William Hanson had been arrested and committed to York Castle for taking part in the robberies at Deighton & Fartown on 29th November 1812. The 'To Correspondents' section of the same paper noted that one of Hanson's relatives had written to state that the person swearing the oath that he was involved had committed perjury, but stated the paper wanted to correspondence to discontinue as 'if that be the case, his innocence will speedily be established'.

19th December 1812: News of the planned York Special Commission becomes public

On Saturday 19th December 1812, the Leeds Mercury informed it's readers that the long-awaited trial of the West Yorkshire Luddites was imminent:
We are authorised to state that Special Commissions of Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery, will be opened at the Castle of York, on a very early day in January, by Mr. Baron Thompson and Mr. Justice Le Blanc, for the trial of offences, connected with the disturbances lately existing in a part of the West-Riding.—It is not their Lorships' purpose to try any prisoners on private prosecution.

The Judges have fixed the 2d January for opening he Commission at York.

Sunday 16 December 2012

16th December 1812: General Acland updates General Maitland on a search for a Luddite arms cache

Huddersfield 16th December 1812.

My dear Sir,

By the enclos’d from M. General Hawker (which came this morning) you will see the system of Frame breaking has recommenced at Nottingham—

Lt Cooper in apprehending the men mention’d in my letter of the 14th Inst got information of some arms in a Wood, & on searching found—

Eight barrells of Guns & Pistols.
Four Guns cut Short —
One Pistol
One Bullet Mould —

In consequence other Warrants were granted by Mr. Ratcliffe, & Thirteen persons have been apprehended & are now under examination—

Having slept a Grange last night I have not been able to see Lloyd or Allison who are at Mr. Ratcliffe's & will be detained there till late—

Brigade Major Bullen is just come in, & tells me Lloyd thinks from what has already transpir’d the cases are better than any that have hitherto come before us— These people form part of a very large Gang that had been concern’d in all the robberies that have been committed in the neighbourhood of this place, Halifax, Sowerby & at Deighton—

I shall see Lloyd & Alison as soon as I can & will send you all the information I can obtain by to-morrow's post—

Wroth: P: Acland

[To] Lt General
The Rt Honble
T. Maitland

16th December 1812: John Beckett of the Home Office informs General Acland of the date for the York Special Commission

16 Decr. 1812

My Dear Sir

I trouble you with a line to mention that the Commission will be opened at York on the 2d Janry.—I shd fear the Cases of the late Robberies at Huddersfield will not be in a fit state to be tried by that time—If not, and I think you could ascertain the point—I should prefer the Men, of whose names I believe you know, been committed for further Examination — to some place of safe Custody, rather than committed finally to York Castle for Trial — wh has been too much the Practice already — perhaps you would be as good as to suggest Something of this sort to Mr. Radcliffe as from yourself if you shd find it necessary — If the Cases — & the Evidence to commit upon them were properly prepared & strong enough — there could be no Objection to their being tried at York — but this at present I hardly conceive to be possible — Do favor me with a Line —

I enclose you an Extra [Garnette] full of Russian triumphs

Yrs faithfully
J. Beckett

[To: General Acland]

Friday 14 December 2012

14th December 1812: James Hey confesses to robberies at Deighton & Fartown, implicates others

On Monday 14th December 1812, Major Hankin of the 2nd Dragoons took the confession of a man recently arrested under suspicion of being involved in the robberies at Deighton & Fartown on 29th November last.

James Hey was a 25 year-old wollen-spinner from Skircoat. Hey admitted to being involved in the robberies with 3 others only: Joseph Holroyd (alias Carter), Joseph Crowther (a 31 year-old cotton-spinner from Sowerby) and Nathan Hoyle (a 45 year-old weaver from Skircoat). He deposed that after the robberies had taken place, they had planned to divide the cash and goods at the house of Holroyd, but decided against when Holroyd said his mother was living with him. Instead, they went to Hey's house. The two watches seized were old for 40 shillings, and this money was divided equally.

Hey went on to discuss how the group of Luddites he said he belonged to was organised: in groups ('classes') of ten men, with one 'head man' over them - that his 'head man' was Job Hey, a man seized five days previously. That although he belonged to a larger division of 200 Luddites, the 'head man' never 'communicated particulars' to the ten men, only when they were needed, and what for, and what role they would play on that occasion. Despite describing himself as a Luddite, James Hey stated that he had never sworn an illegal oath, nor been assigned a number.

A day later, Hey added to his confession, stating that the gunpowder found at the 'head man' Job Hey's house was for use by his class of ten men.

Aspects of Hey's evidence contradicted that given by those robbed on 29th November: in particular, Joshua Thornton was clear that 6 men had entered his home that night, and John Woods had desposed that 9 men had been involved, and that afterwards each of the Luddites had given their number when the roll had been called. We do not know what pressure was brought to bear on Hey, but one of those he implicated, Joseph Holroyd, was later to crack and turn King's Evidence against the other 3.

14th December 1812: General Acland tells General Maitland of a breakthrough in information about Luddite burglars

Huddersfield 14th December 1812.

My dear Sir,

Lt Cooper has some information which if correct may lead to discovery of most of the robberies that have been committed in the neighbourhood of Elland & Halifax, particularly Mr. [Lindsays], Hughes, [Buchen] & those about Deighton — Mr. Ratcliffe late last night issued warrants against five or six Persons who will probably be apprehended this day—

Lt Cooper’s information has been obtained from a man who states he was one of the gang, his statement as far as it goes is circumstantial, but we have been so often deceiv’d that it is impossible to say how it may turn out—

You shall hear further from me about it on Wednesday,

A Route is come for the march of the six troops of the 15. on [Oxford] from the Qr. Mr. General varying a little from the one issued here

The 10th do not come to Sheffield but march direct on York & arrive on the 29th Inst. All is quiet here—

Wroth P Acland

[To] Lt General
The Rt Honble
T. Maitland

14th December 1812: The Leicester framework-knitter's leader, Thomas Allsop, offers to become an informer

Leicester 14th Decr. 1812

Honoured Sir

I feel it my duty as a faithful and Loyal Subject of His Majesty to lay before you the Inclosed Paper. You will form your Opinion on its contents, I do not hesitate to say that Societies formed on the place there pointed out our once inimical to our Laws, and but subversive of the Peace and Property of His Majesty’s subjects. It has its origin at Nottingham and I believe I should never have been trusted with it but that I was tried at Lammas Assizes in the Borough of Leicester on a Charge of having sent a Threatening Letter to a Mr Wood of the said Borough of which I was perfectly Innocent and which was clearly proved, but to return, The Language of the “Articles” would alone justify me in this mode of procedure but I have many reasons to believe that the Object of these societies is to persevere in an organized plan and to act in unison with the Luddites of Yorkshire and I am further justified in this Opinion by their having recommenced their outrages at Nottingham by Frame-breaking. It is intended to form societies under the pretence of Obtaining Parliamentary Relief and I believe are many societies formed but mark the Articles, No Person is to be admitted to their meetings. What does this argue, that there Object is unlawful, I have been requested to form societies in Leicester but this I cannot do for unless there is an ostensible Object in view and that Object is agreeable with the Crown Laws and Constitution of our Country I will have nothing to do it.—

Your Candour will forgive me writing so familiar and I must beg of you that my name may not be mentioned as making this discovery as it would probably cost me my life, If you should wish for further particulars I should thank you for a line Addressed T. Allsop Burley’s Lane, Leicester and to come unfranked to avoid suspicion

I should think an interview with you might be useful, but as I am an humble Individual and have not the means of defraying the expence that must rest with you. I shall not fail to give You every information that I can on this important subject, I have as yet had no communication with any Person in Leicester on the Business, shall wait your Instructions. In laying this business before you I trust I shall have done my duty and that my conduct may meet Your Approbation is the earnest wish of

Honoured Sir with all [Deference]
Your Obedient, Humble Servt
Thomas Allsop

[To] The Right Honorable
The Secretary of State
Home Department

P.S. I earnestly interest Your Honour to return the printed paper soon as may be convenient to you for I dare not be without it in fear of discovery—

14th December 1812: The Treasury Solicitor discusses the execution of Mellor, Thorpe & Smith before their trial has even begun

Dear Sir,

In case the Judges should be disposed to order the Execution of the Murderers on the spot where the Offence was committed, it appears to me very material to consider how their Bodies are to be afterwards to be disposed of so as to prevent their being triumphantly buried by their Friends. I lay gibbeting out of the question. The Alternative is, ordering the Bodies to be anatomized. But is there any Surgeon at or near Huddersfield, who would dare to dissect these Bodies? If not, I am very much disposed to think that an execution at York should be preferred. As you are on the spot, you can from the best opinion upon the question I have asked.

I trust the recent Commitments are likely to lead to Convictions. I think a better opinion may be formed respecting James Hey’s Confession, when we see how fars his Conviction will be expedient to fill up the Measure of Justice.

I have to thank you for the Transmission of my Letters, & do not forget that I am indebted to you for the Postage of one of them.

I mean to leave Town on my Road to York, after Wednesday's Post comes in.

I am [etc]
H. Hobhouse
Lincolns Inn
Dec. 14. 1812

[To] Maj. Genl. Acland
&c &c &c

Thursday 13 December 2012

13th December 1812: Stocking frame broken in New Radford

Whilst the attacks by Nottinghamshire Luddites were nowhere near on the same scale as 12 months previously, they were continuing since being revived in November. On Sunday 13th December 1812, a stocking frame was broken in New Radford by Luddites after working for less than the agreed prices.

Wednesday 12 December 2012

12th December 1812: Walker's Scribbling Mill at Mirfield is destroyed by fire

On Saturday 12th December 1812, a Scribbling Mill belonging to a Mr Walker of Mirfield was found to be on fire. All of the machinery in the Mill was destroyed before the fire could be extinguished.

The report in the Leeds Mercury did not give any indication of the cause of the fire, and the incident is not remarked upon in any of the Home Office correspondence, which suggests that the authorities were not led to believe it was arson, but it is not possible to be certain.

12th December 1812: The Luddite convict, Thomas Holden, writes a final letter before leaving England

Ship Fortune
Dec 12th, 1812

Dear Wife                       

I received your kind letter wich gave me Great comfort to hear from you I wonderd the reason I  Didnot hear from you sooner Theirfore I sent a letter to Know the reason you Didnot write to me but I received your Letter about the Same time you received my Letter, you say you are going to send some flannel Shirts but if you have not Sent them of I hope you will not send the [illegible] as it is an Hot Climate wheare we are going Therefore they will be very useless things but anything els that you may have to send that is Right, would be very serviceable and I hope you will not fail in sending Immediately as we Dont Know Know one Day before another

I hope you will not mind what you may hear from any one that writes to boulton Saying how good anyone have been to me for I in all my illness have Received no favour from any one of they that Come from boulton but for the other way I dont hold any conversation with any one of them, I thank God I am getting better now Daily – but what my father Desired me to get I have not got it in my Power to get it. if you have got any trifull of money to send to me, it would be thankfully to Received it and please not to Delay any time what ever in Sending as we expect to Sail Daily I hope and pray Cornel Fletcher will have the goodness to Sign a petition for me, and, I hope you will let me know every particulars you can in your next letter, if Brayley Box is not Lent I will be Obliged to you to send me a Quire of Writing Paper, and a few pens as they are very Dear hear. I Remember my Love to my Wifes father and Mother and her Sister Nancy and to my Dear Loving Mother and Brother and Father and I Conclude with Remaining your ever Loving Son and Husband till Death Thomas Holding, in the Next Letter you sends to me please to put my Christian Name in full as follows, Thomas Holding

Mary Holding
to be Left at the Sign
of the Golden Lion
Church Gate
Boulton Lei Moores

12th December 1812: Tory & Liberal publications do their best to insult the Luddites

In December 1812, both the Tory Leeds Intelligencer & Whig Leeds Mercury were conducting a war of words. The spat had begun of 7th December, when the Leeds Intelligencer chose to describe the perpetrators of & the motives behind the robberies at Deighton & Fartown in a particular way:
Those Reforming Gentry, the Luddites, have now converted their plans into a complete system of marauding and plunder. Last Sunday night a gang of about a dozen perpetrated the following robberies at Fartown near Huddersfield: At the house of William Walker, they obtained about 20l; at George Scholes’s 20l. besides spiritous liquors; and James Brook’s 1 Guinea and a Watch; at William Radcliff’s 20l. in money and goods; and Moses Ball’s some Silver, and at Josiah Thornton’s about 5l and nearly murdered his wife! And yet we were told lately, that all Luddism was at an end.

There are not wanting persons who pretend that distinction is to be made between Luddites, and Thieves and Robbers. How will such explain the late proceedings of Fartown? The advocates of Luddism pretend that the Fartown thieves were not Yorkshireman. The plundered inhabitants of Fartown will tell you that the speech of the assailants betrayed their country and their parish. But their object was honourable—and honourable, no doubt, will be the pleader who espouses their cause, though fed with Fartown gold. It is said, that the Luddites are collecting money to fee Counsel! One of the Fartown thieves is identified, but will not at present impeach his accomplices. 
The Leeds Mercury of Saturday 12th December responded in the main section to the Intelligencer's accusations about how the Luddites legal Counsel was being funded: 
Every man with the feelings of an Englishman, must read with indignation an attempt to stigmatize the persons who may be professionally employed to plead the cause, or assist in the defence of the prisoners now confined in our County Gaol, on charges of Luddism. Are these men to be put out of the pale of the Constitution, and to be debarred the privilege of a fair trial? This is not a matter of favour, but of right; and whoever endeavours to deprive them of their privileges, acts in contradiction of the laws of his country, and endeavours to introduce a system better fitted to the times of Jefferies than to the days the righteous Judges who now adorned the British Bench. If the prisoners, after a fair trial, with all the advantages given to persons in the unfortunate situation by the law, be found guilty, every friend to the peace and well-being of society, will wish them to meet the punishment due to their crime; but no man but a Jefferies or a Monk, will wish to dam up against them the avenues of justice, by depriving them of the best legal assistance they can procure

In another section of the same edition, the Mercury's 'Huddersfield Correspondent' chose to slur the Luddites indirectly, by associating them with the variety of oppressors they hated the most:
The depredators at Fartown, are, by the advocates of abuses, called Reformers; but this is certainly an improper term, they are much more nearly allied to those State Luddites that fatten on corruption, and exist by public plunder!
Much the same vacuous arguments have been in evidence throughout the bicentenary, re-insulting the Luddites from 200 years ago and those who carry their flame today.

12th December 1812: Two suspects are committed to York Castle for the original Luddite raids in the West Riding

The Leeds Mercury of Saturday 12th December 1812 reported that two suspected Luddites had been committed to York Castle for some of the early raids in West Riding in March 1812.

James Dyson, a cropper from Longroyd Bridge, was committed for having been present at, and aiding and assisting in the attack on the premises of Messrs Sykes and Co. at Linthwaite in the early hours of 6th March 1812.

John Walker, another cropper from Salford (near Huddersfield), was committed for attacking the buildings and workshops of Francis Vickerman, at Taylor Hill on 15th March 1812.

Sunday 9 December 2012

9th December 1812: General Acland expresses doubts about the arrests of the Burglars to General Maitland

Huddersfield 9th December 1812.

My dear Sir,

The Men under examination yesterday on Suspicion of being concern’d in the robbery, are recommitted till Fryday, with Two of the witnesses produced in their favor to prove an Alibi, who were themselves sworn to as Principals by some of the persons robb’d—

There is so much swearing & lying backwards & forwards that is difficult to give any opinion about it—

I think it however clear we have got hold of some of the set, the doubt on my mind is there being sufficient proof to bring it quite home to them—

I have written to Hay & sent over Serjeant  Johnstone, who is [directed] to communicate with me every three or four days—

Lt Cooper has been searching some houses between Elland & Sowerby under the authority of Warrants from Mr. Ratcliffe, in one house he found about three pounds of Gun-powder & from that & other suspicious [circumstances] has apprehended the owner & another man—in the other houses nothing particular was discover’d.

I have [directed] on a letter that was enclos’d under cover from Lord Palmerston which I have not open’d conceiving it [extremely] Private—

No [Officials] in particular this morning—

Wroth: P: Acland

[To] Lt General
The Rt Honble
T. Maitland

9th December 1812: The foundation stone is laid for a new Church at Liversedge

Roberson's Christ Church, Liversedge in May 2012. Photo by Tim Green (Creative Commons License)
At noon on Wednesday 9th December 1812, and with what the Leeds Mercury called 'unusual pomp', a ceremony was held in Liversedge to mark the laying of the foundation stone of a new Church there.

The new church was the plan of the Luddite-baiting local priest, Hammond Roberson. Roberson had secured an Act of Parliament in order to build the church, and would pay for the construction from his own fortune (the eventual cost running to almost £7,500).

The Mercury dubbed the ceremony an 'Ecclesiastic-martial spectacle', as it included 20 of the local clergy and 'hundreds' of troops in a procession, including Captain Francis Raynes and some of his Stirlingshire Militia, with the troops at the rear having fixed bayonets.

Such vulgar displays of domination by the authorities were only possible as overt Luddite activity had almost completely died down in the West Riding.

9th December 1812: Lieutenant Cooper apprehends suspected Luddites at North Dean, near Halifax

Elland 9th [December] 1812.


I have the Honor to report my proceedings under a Search warrant that I procured from Mr. Radcliffe yesterday.

Attended by the Constables I went from Elland to North Dean at night this morning to Search four Houses, specified in the warrant, I placed a Guard on the premises of each at the same moment and am well assured from our Vigilance that nothing escaped us.

The first House research’d belong’d to a woman of the name of Hill, whose son we suspected, we found an Iron Gavlock and a Hatchet such as have been seen in the possession of the Luddites when committing their depredations. We brought them with us to Elland. the Man was not at home. the next House was Job Hay’s were we found three pounds and a quarter of Gun Powder a broken Ram Rod & an old lock of a Gun, these and some other suspicious circumstances induced me to take him into Custody along with a man whom he call’d his Servant, and who was working with Hay at the time, His name he says is James Washington. In the other Houses we found nothing to create suspicion beyond a great quantity of provision, far more than I should expect to find in the House of a poor and Honest man—The Prisoners and the things that I have seized I suppose I should take to Milnbridge and I will write to Mr. Radcliffe to know when it is convenient for him to examine them.

I have not been able to send any of my Men to Head Quarters to day and I hope you will not think me dilatory or negligent in executing your orders. I shall send ten early to morrow morning and as many the following days ‘till I have nearly changed the whole of the Detachment.

A Corporal & six Privates of the Greys have joined me this Morning. I have the Honor to be Sir,

Yr most Obdt & Most Hble Servant
Alf. Cooper Lieut.
West Suffolk Militia

P.S. North Dean is not more than a quarter of a mile from Copley Mills.

[To] Major General Acland.
&c. &c. &c.

Saturday 8 December 2012

8th December 1812: An illustration of how the anti-combination laws worked

The Times law reports of Wednesday 9th December 1812 carried an example of how the anti-combination laws worked where workers had effectively organised in their workplaces:
The King v. Collin, and Thirty-four Others.

This was an indictment charging the Defendants, who are journeyman curriers, with a conspiracy to raise their wages. The conspiracy was proved against eleven of them, who had struck for an advance of wages on the 10th of March last, and had subsequently been supported out of a fund provided by the journeyman for that purpose; but it appearing that they had returned to their duty seven or eight weeks ago, it was agreed on the suggestion of Lord Ellenborough, that a verdict of guilty should go against these eleven persons, with an understanding that they should not be brought up for judgment, except in the event of the conspiracy breaking out again.

Friday 7 December 2012

7th December 1812: General Acland updates General Maitland about Robbery suspects

Huddersfield 7th December 1812

My dear Sir,

The information alluded to by Lloyd yesterday relates to Two men of Elland, who are identified (each on the oath of one person) as having been present when the robberies were committed on the night of the 29th November—

They are recommitted till Tuesday for further examination, when they State they can produce Evidence to prove an Alibi—

Warrants are out against three others on suspicion of being concern’d—

The Two men first taken up, have been this morning discharg’d—

Allison tells me Lloyd & himself are going on collecting information on the cases examin’d by Mr. Hobhouse, but though they they have got somewhat further, it does not amount to what they wish—

Raynes has been with me this morning, all is quiet about him—. He says persons are going about the Country collecting money for the Prisoners in York Castle but they do not state, if, for any in particular.

You may depend on hearing from me as often as any thing occurs to report, & if you have no letter, rely on it, nothing has happen’d that has reach’d me—

Wroth: P: Acland

[To] Lt General
The Rt Honble
T. Maitland

7th December 1812: Joseph Radcliffe writes to the Home Office about the recent robberies near Huddersfield


I had yesterday the honor to receive your Letter of the fourth Instant saying that a correspondent of Mr Lord Sidmouth’s have communicated to His Lordship that the inhabitants of the village where the outrage happened neglected to give the slightest intimation of what happened to any one person, who had he been apprised of it might have possibly discovered the Parties.—although the Military who were Stationed near the place for the special purpose of its protection if called upon, were at hand on all sides of it ready to give assistance. This instance of supineness appears to His Lordship to exceed any thing of the sort which has come to His Lordship's knowledge, & he hopes will impress upon the inhabitants of the neighbourhood, that unless they shew more activity in similar occasions, it will be quite impossible to expect that the means afforded by Government for their protection can be effectual for the purpose. Then you mention having inclosed an abstract taken from the Letter which Lord Sidmouth had received upon this occasion. to which I answer that what is called a village, is two stragling Townships, surrounded by a strong party of soldiers at Huddersfield about a mile & an half to two miles from the nearest houses first robbed & under the Eye of the most active of vigilant Officer, Genl Acland, the next station is Elland four miles off, the other station is Brighouse nearly the same distance. The Robbery was on Sunday Night & the next morning two of the Persons robbed came to give the information, as [provided] herewith sent on this I summoned the five others & have also inclosed their information is. Lt. Cooper of the suffolk, quartered at Elland, apprehended three suspicious Characters & brought them before me, agt. whom nothing could be positively proved. I have two more remanded for further examination & one other my warrant went out to apprehend yesterday. in fact my time during all last week has been taken up in attending to this business, & when any thing effectual family made out, Mr. Alison, or Mr. Lloyd, shall transmit the particulars to Lord Sidmouth. By the examination herewith, sent, His Lordship will observe the terror impressed on the minds of the poor inhabitants, by the threats of the armed Robbers.—& am, Sir,

yours Truly
J: Radcliffe.

Milnsbridge House
Decr 7th, 1812—

[To John Beckett]

7th December 1812: 'The Wranglers; or Who Shall Be a Favourite'

The Wranglers;

(A Friend of O'Connor and Despard.)
I HAVE done more than ye for my King,
Stand-off with your vain foolish fancies,
For I made all the City to ring—
With “B—r—tt”and the valiant “Sir Francis.”

(Ned Lud)
Yet away with you, uncle Sir Francis,
Pray what has Jack sixteen-string* done?
To break lace-frames you ne’er made advances,
Nor to blow the man's brains out for fun.

Poh poh, ye’re insignificant sinners,
Compared with me—mighty great-man!
I am sure you will never be winners
Though I know that you will if you can.

For tho’, Frankly, my brother thou art,
And thou, Neddy, my darling, my child,
I declare you shall not have a part,
I'll not be of my honours beguil’d.

But here comes our King—hush and hear him,
Clear up the great point in dispute;
True worth he'll discern, I ne’er fear him,
He'll decide in my favour no doubt.

O yes—The great Naseby the mighty,
Shall be the head don in my court;
Bow down all ye “Broadbottomed”party,
And be present where’er he resort.

He has done the thing just as I'd have it,
He has formed right good subjects for me;
Infused discontentment, and hatred,
Made Jacobin slaves of the free.

His engine’s extensively useful
In promoting my cause upon earth,
I am sorry, True Blue† should afflict him,
With Toasts† to which virtue gave birth.

But the worst, I foresee, is not come yet,
True Blue will not let things rest so,
He will not only with—but effect it,
That out of the Country you go.

I dread most—Blue’s proposing the question,
(“Shall we turn baneful Hermes quite out,
Discontinue this vile publication,
This Pelt to the country about”?

Ah! poor fellow! I'll take pity on him,
He shall come with his “bairns” by his side;
He shall never want friends nor attendants,
Whilst a god o’er this world I preside.

*See Doublŭres of Characters, in the Anti-Jacobin Review; for October 1798.

††At these words poor Naseby fell into strong convulsion fits, and uttered, in a very incoherent manner, the following broken words, as near as could be collected —“Land”………..“the la…n..d”………“don't li… it” “we live… iu”……“le….lea….leave it.”—When the Paroxism was a little over, he began to speak more intelligibly and addressing himself to his son he said; “Oh Ned Lud. Ned Lud!—our cause! Oh ‘tis nearly, nearly over—Oh ‘tis over—you will receive little countenance or support from the next p—rl—m—t—no B—r—hm, no R—m—ly, no T—ny there!! And your uncle Frank vows he will not so again unless they mend their manners.”

When some particular friends had wiped the “blood and gore” from his mouth and body, they found them as if they had been “hacked with a hand-saw.”

Thursday 6 December 2012

6th December 1812: The Middleton Manufacturer, Daniel Burton, dies aged 68

The Manchester Mercury of 12th December 1812 informed it's readers that the Manufacturer Daniel Burton, owner of the steam-loom factory at Middleton that had withstood a 2-day siege in April, had died on Sunday 6th December 1812 aged 68. At the time, he was living in Manchester.

Burton's cause of death was not commented upon and indeed, this was a good age for 200 years ago, but it is possible that what had happened in Middleton over 7 months previously may have led to an earlier death than he could have otherwise expected. Absurdly, and without any trace of apparent irony, the Mercury commented that Burton had been "(to) the poor a sympathizing and generous friend".

Wednesday 5 December 2012

5th December 1812: Samuel Harling is committed to York Castle for threatening Joseph Radcliffe

The Saturday 5th December edition of the Leeds Mercury carried the following item reporting the committal of Samuel Harling, who had been taken up recently:
Since our last were committed to York Castle, Samuel Harling, late of Crossland Edge, in the West Riding, hawker and pedlar, charged upon the oath of Thomas Selly, of Stockport, in the County of Chester, Bailiff, with having threatened the life of Mr. Radcliffe, a Magistrate.

Sunday 2 December 2012

2nd December 1812: General Acland sends another update to General Maitland about the recent Robberies

Huddersfield 2nd December 1812.

My dear Sir,

The three men against whom warrants were issued, were brought before Mr. Ratcliffe this morning, but some of the persons robbed could [not] identify any of them, they will be bound over to appear on Saturday next

We have got a sort of clue, that may lead to something, however I am not very sanguine — A fowling piece & the hatchet were left behind at one of the houses, the former cut short, & is the same that was taken from a Mr. Hague soon after you came into this District.

The Men who committed the robberies on the 29th was seen going towards Elland & Brighouse & I think will be found to belong to the neighbourhood—

Only Sixty six pounds some shillings besides several watches & tea spoons are now stated to have been taken from all the parties on that night – one person saved Seventy pounds by throwing his pocket book behind the bed—

Allison is at work, getting all the information he can, & as any thing transpires you shall know it immediately—

Wroth P Acland

I am going to dine & sleep at Sir George Armytages at Thornley.

[To] Lt General
The Rt Honble
T. Maitland

2nd December 1812: William Cartwright pens a grovelling letter to the Home Secretary

Rawfolds near Leeds
December 2. 1812

My Lord

I trust your Lordship will pardon, my trespassing on your Attention, to Express the lively Sense of Obligation, which the benevolent Interest in my Behalf, which your Lordship has condescended to convey to me, by Major General Ackland, has excited.

He only, can conceive the deep Impression of Gratitude, who has suffer’d as I have done, surrounded by Dangers, which I had put too good Reason to fear, no Time would remove, depress’d by Difficulties, which I had no means of surmounting, the Bitterness of my Feelings as a Father, for my remaining Children, aggravated by the miserable Prospect of Ruin, in Consequence of the Desertion of those, whose best Interests had been promoted by my successful Stand, against a lawless, and Bloodthirsty Banditti; thus isolated by the Pusillanimity of many, & proscrib’d by the Fury of those whose wicked Vows were frustrated, worn down by unremitting Vigilance, my Health, or Reason would have sunk, under the Load, had I not tenaciously adhered, to the Consciousness, that thought what I had done, had been to me so very fruitful in Calamity alone, I still had acted right—.

That your Lordship is pleased to think so, gives me inexpressible Gratification.

Thus stimulated, I cannot shrink from any Danger, which may cross me in the Path of Duty; I shall most cheerfully Continue to maintain my Post, for any Length of Time which your Lordship may think necessary, for the Public Good, & for which I beg to assure your Lordship, that no Exertions of mine shall be wanting.

Whilst I present my heartfelt thanks, for that Relief, the pecuniary aid which General Maitland has offerd me, must naturally afford, me, & whilst I deeply feel, the keen Mortification, the Necessity of accepting it imposes, on me, I hope I may be permitted to Express my humble Wish, that your Lordship would be pleased to learn, from General Maitland, what the exact Nature of my Situation is, and that any assistance now afforded me, will be but considered as the means of prolonging my Defence, and that it will not in any Degree weaken, the favorable opinion, with which I am honor’d by your Lordship;

I have [etc]
Wm Cartwright

[To: Lord Sidmouth]

Saturday 1 December 2012

1st December 1812: General Acland updates General Maitland on the recent Robberies near Huddersfield

Huddersfield 1 December 1812.

My dear Sir,

From the information Allison & myself have receiv’d, Warrants are granted by Mr. Radcliffe against three men from the neighbourhood of Elland, supposed to have been concern’d in the robberies on the night of the 29th Ultimo (Novr)

Lt Cooper & Serjt Clarke of the Suffolk have been active in this business, & I am not without hope that we shall break into it, & apprehend some of those concern’d.

The day has been so wet, I have not been able to go round to the different houses to make any enquiries, & am therefore not prepared to state further as to the facts you wish to have ascertain’d, [illegible] Deighton has had no association being connected with this Township it has depended on it, & the civil Patroles have not extended so far.

From the conversation I have had with two of the persons robb’d I trust they are stimulated to exert themselves & persuade their neighbors to organize some system for their own security, but I find the [witnesses] of the respectable part of the community is greater than I could have believ’d, & my opinion was never favorable on this point—

I was mistaken in my statement of the robberies in my report of Yesterday, it does not now appear more than forty pounds were taken from the Two persons who appear’d before Mr. Ratcliffe — the whole are summon’d for to-morrow, & as soon as I get the result of the examinations it shall be communicated to you—

Unless we can rouse the Spirit of the people to combine to self protection, we must expect nightly depredations, in spite of every assistance the Military can afford — but you may rely on it they will not be brought to any measure of the kind, notwithstanding your utmost exertions till the system of Plunder gets to that extent, that civil associations will be of no [illegible]—

Wroth: P: Acland

[To] Lt General
The Rt Honorable
T. Maitland

1st December 1812: Lieutenant Cooper informs General Acland of suspects wanted for Robberies near Huddersfield

Elland 1st December 1812.


I have the Honor to transmit to you what particulars I have been able to acquire concerning the Robberies committed on the night of the 29th ult.

I sent my Piquet to Patrole the neighbourhood last night, giving orders to the Serjeant, a very active and intelligent man, to make particular enquiries, of the persons robbed, of the circumstances attending the Depredations. He has given me a very satisfactory Report of the proceedings, & it appears to me that there are grounds sufficiently strong for apprehending Samuel Robinson and Joshua Fielding, both of Elland, the first escaped my clutches the other day before Mr Radcliffe by proving an alibi, but I have a strong suspicion that his evidence is perjured. I have the Honor to enclose you Sergeant Clark’s Report and I make him the Bearer of it lest you should think it necessary to question him further. I have often employ’d him to obtain the information by Sending him about the Country in plain clothes and I have much reason to commend his assiduity and activity and should you approve of it I should like to employ him continually in the same Service.

I intended to have been the Bearer of the enclosed intelligence myself but am unable to procure a Horse, and the time I have lost in trying to borrow one has prevented your receiving this earlier.

If it meets your approbation I should like the Serjeant to proceed from Huddersfield to Milnsbridge to procure Warrants & Summons to the parties concern’d, as I think we cannot proceed with too much alacrity.

I have [etc]
Alf. Cooper Lieut
West Suffolk Militia

[To] Major General Acland
&c. &c. &c.