Thursday, 28 February 2013

28th February 1813: A Quaker missionary, Thomas Shillitoe, visits the families of George Mellor, Jonathan Dean & John Walker

A print from an etching of Thomas Shillitoe, which appears in a biography by William Tallack
Thomas Shillitoe was a Quaker minister and missionary, originally from London. In 1812, he had moved to Barnsley, to be close to his widowed daughter, and in early 1813 decided to visit the families of the Luddites executed at York. He began his journey on Sunday 28th February 1813, and his journal, published over 20 years later, describes what took place:
First-day, 28th of 2nd mo. I left Barnsley on foot; reached Paddock meeting-house in due time for meeting, where I met with my companion Joseph Wood. Some close religious labour with our kind friends of this meeting being required of us, a sense of having endeavoured thus far, through holy help, to discharge our duty, afresh animated us to look with confidence for help from this same Divine source, in the prosecution of this arduous engagement before us. At the close of the meeting, Friends were requested to stop, before whom we spread our religious prospects, and presented the minute of our monthly meeting, allowing us to proceed therein. Friends of Paddock meeting being previously informed of our intention, made arrangements for our accommodation.

After dining with our kind friends John and Phoebe Fisher, of Spring-dale, accompanied by John Fisher and Abraham Mallinson, we proceeded to the house of the widow and five children of [Jonathan] Dean, of Long-royd Bridge, who suffered for rioting. The widow's mind appeared to be under very great distress, with her helpless, fatherless children; the oldest child being about eight years, the youngest not more months old. All that was alive in us and capable of feeling for her, plunged as she was into such accumulated distress, we felt to be brought into action. We next visited the widow and three children of John Walker, who suffered for rioting, one of the children an infant at the breast. The feelings of distress awakened in my mind, in sitting down with this family, were such, that I was tempted to conclude human nature could hardly endure to proceed with the visit before us. We endeavoured in both cases to impart such counsel as came before our minds, which we had reason to hope was well received; and that their being thus far noticed, had a tendency, in some small degree, to add a ray of comfort to their deeply-tried minds.

After tea, feeling my bodily strength a little recruited, and my resolutions afresh excited, we proceeded to the mournful house of the parents of [George Mellor], a single young man, and one of those concerned in the murder of the master-manufacturer. We sat with the parents, who are living in a respectable line of life. In this opportunity we had fresh cause to acknowledge holy help was near, furnishing matter suitable to the deeply-tried and afflicted state of mind in which we found them; whilst we endeavoured to be upon our guard that nothing escaped our lips, that should be the means of unnecessarily wounding their feelings. Our visit was thankfully received by both parents, and, as we afterwards understood, was like a morsel of bread at a time when they appeared almost ready to famish. The father acknowledged, the melancholy circumstance had brought their minds into such a tried state, that they had concluded to move to some other part of the country; but our visit had tended to settle them down again in their present place of residence.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

27th February 1813: 'A Diligent Enquirer' responds again to 'An Attentive Hearer'

MR. EDITOR—It is much more difficult to silence than to confute “an Attentive Hearer:” but I will make another effort to submit his assertions to a test from which it will not be easy for evasion itself to rescue him. In his last letter he again asserts, that Mellor, at the place of execution, used the expressions “die game” and “us poor murderers.” I say, that neither of these expressions fell from his lips. Here then is an assertion against assertion, only with this important difference, that, to a certain extent, the reverend gentleman who attended the malefactors in their last moments, confirms my declaration, and falsifies that of my opponent. But for the present I will wave Mr. Brown's authority, decisive as it is, and consider the matter as resting merely on the ipse dixit of an anonymous writer. Men whose names have no reason to expect public credence, in any disputed case, except so far as their assertion are supported by the authorities: here then we come to the pinching point—let “an Attentive Hearer” produce his authorities confirmatory of his assertions, and I will produce mine; and by way of a beginning, I will undertake to produce the names of six persons, who were all present at the execution, all men of indisputable character and veracity, and all so situated at the time as to hear distinctly every word that was uttered, and who will one and all declare most positively that the words put into Mellor’s mouth by “an Attentive Hearer,” were not uttered by him; it being understood that an “Attentive Hearer” shall produce an equal number of authorities, of character equally free from suspicion, who will declare that Mellor did use those words; and to avoid further evasion, it shall be at his option whether the names of the authorities be published, or merely handed to the printers of the respective papers, for the the inspection of those that may interest themselves in this wire-drawn dispute. His election on this point he will make in his next letter.

Should he decline this challenge, as he did the wager of charity, he will be truly chargeable with having attempted to practice upon public credulity, and with having, for six weeks, amused the readers of the Intelligencer with unsupported fictions.


Sunday, 24 February 2013

24th February 1813: General Acland informs General Maitland of Francis Raynes' desire for a job with Government & an assault on an employee of William Cartwright

Wakefield 24th Febry 1813.

My dear Sir.

Raynes says he is so little perfectly acquainted with the places Government have in their disposal, that he has difficulty in pointing out any situation in particular, he speaks generally of the Excise & Customs, as he is not unacquainted with business having been employ’d under his father, while he carried on a Banking concern, & but if Government will appoint him to any place of Three or Four Hundred a year either in England or Scotland he shall be greatly oblig’d & gratified—

Raynes reports that a Servant of Mr. Cartwrights returning  home on Saturday night last, was met by three men who ask’d him if he still worked for Mr. Cartwright, was replying he did was knocked down & beaten, one of the men endeavour’d to prevent it, & entreated others to desist without affect. However no suspicion attaches of any one in particular having committed this assault—In every other respect the neighbourhood remains perfectly quiet, Mr. Robinson & one or two others tell Raynes they think it may have a very good effect greatly to diminish the number of Troops & at least that the experiment is worth trying, but you are the best judge here for this can be prudently done, as well as whether the attack on Cartwright’s servant may be consider’d a renewal of the late Spirits—we must Expect be prepar’d for some partial instances of irritation & animosity occasionally shewing themselves, but I have no idea they will be carried to any extent.

M General Dirom has written for leave of absence till the 10th of March for Colonel Clay, who has gone away on account of the illness of his Mother.

I forward under cover to [illegible] a letter with enclosures from Lt Colonel Trafford relative to Capt Mitchell in answer to your last.

Wroth P Acland

Young is a Lieutenant & not an Ensign in the West Suffolk as I mention’d.

[To] Lt General
The Rt Honorable
T. Maitland

Saturday, 23 February 2013

23rd February 1813: General Acland writes a summary of recent events for General Maitland

Wakefield 23rd Febry 1813.

My dear Sir.

I went this morning to Huddersfield & fortunately met Mr. Radcliffe, Scott & Armytage the magistrates also Lloyd & Alison, they all agree the temper & feeling of the country is totally changed, & that there is every [reported] prospect & expectation of all continuing quiet — Radcliffe & Mr Armytage without any allusion I me to the subject, stated that in their opinions the troops might be withdrawn leaving only one Regt of Cavalry & that the trial should be made to enable us to form a fair opinion as to its real state, as well as the true disposition of the people—Mr. Scott was not altogether in this mind, but thought a Regt of Infantry should be left also, so as to give a company or small detachment in each Town.

Radcliffe gave no hint about his guard being withdrawn but said soon after the troops were remov’d if the country was quiet he should go away for a month or two which I know he intended doing way before the commission at York took place – others whom I have conversed with since we (quartered at York) think also a Regt of Cavalry will be sufficient for this Riding.

Allison tells me the sentiments of all classes are changed, those who were known to be implicated in the late disturbances & when not proceeded against are truly sensible of the Lenity shewn them by our Government & many of those who were active promoters of the depredations & were entirely unknown or only partially so are much [gratified] & feel happy that no measures have been taken to detect or punish them.

About 60 have taken the oath of Allegiance before Mr. Scott about 5 or 6 of them appear to have taken the illegal oath, but they state it only bound them to promote petitions for peace & parliamentary reform & as far as Mr. Scott can ascertain these do not seem to have join’d in any of the depredations or plundering — Dean who was executed is stated by most of them to have been as active in all the disturbances as either Mellor or Thorpe

Mr. Armytage has administered the oath of Allegiance to about 20 - 15 of which have come in within the last three days.

Sir John Kaye has here been most active in gaining every information from his Tenantry about Dalton many of the Lower classes of these have have been implicated than he was before aware of but are here thoroughly sensible of their error and there is every appearance they will return to orderly & peaceable habits of Life.

In short all that I have conversed with seem to be of opinion that we have now such a Key to the character of most of the people in general that any thing that may occur again must be speedily broken into, but the recurrence of disturbance is not likely to happen again at least for some time.

I went to see the Plantations of Mr. Hague & Mr. Horsfall that was stated to have been destroy’d the former has about 250 or 300 young trees broken or cut down the latter about [80] though it appears to me to have proceeded from a very mischievous principle I have my doubts if it is connected with the system of Luddism & [illegible] do not believe it is—

I did not find Mr. Horsfall at home & could only find a Servant who knew little or nothing.

Mr Hague does not suspect any one he has always been to a certain degree popular with the Lower classes, & [attributes] the spirit that has now shewn itself to his having been very active recently in getting subscriptions for Mr. Cartwright, but many [illegible] think it proceeds from offence given in his being over tenacious in preserving his [illegible] & having been somewhat severe in doing it—

The Tenter that was destroy’d (& which may cost about 20£ to repair) belonged to one Drake who was a principal Evidence against the persons let out on bail.

Mr. Hague has offered a reward of 50£ for the detection of any one concerned & tells me he has spoken to Ratcliffe to write up to the Secretary of State to grant a pardon to any one who will impeach—

Allow me to [report] you my thanks for the kind manner in which you have supported me about Major Hawker I can only say it shall ever be as if always [illegible] my [study] & not as I think will give you satisfaction & to anticipate your wishes.

Will you consider about sending the Horse artillery & [illegible] they actively can be [well] spared. I believe Foy would be gratified in taking them back there previous to giving up the Command.

I am anxious to save the post & have therefore hurried myself in writing.

Wroth: P: Acland
M General

I shall be most anxious to learn from you what is to become of me, if it is possible to arrange it I shall be happy in return to Chelmsford


[To] Lt General
The Rt. Honble
T. Maitland

23rd February 1813: Nottingham's Town Clerk, George Coldham, has doubts about the suspects in the Samuel Ash shooting

My Lord

By Desire of the Mayor I have the Honour to inclose for your Lordship’s Information the Minutes of the Examination of Thomas Kirke & Thomas Neaps & some other Persons regarding the Charge of firing a Pistol into the House of Samuel Ash on the Morning of the 14th of February Instant. It will I apprehend appear to your Lordship that there is nothing like any distinct Evidence either that Neaps or Kirke actually fired the Pistol & it does not appear from the Enquiries subsequently made by the Magistrates that we are likely to acquire any distinct Information on this part of the law; Thomas Kirke has however virtually assaulted the Constable who apprehended & struck him violently with a view to affect his Escape & upon him at his Dwelling House the Pistol & a Sword is found & he [appears] precisely in appearance the Man who appears to have acted a very leading part in some of the later Attempts to Destroy Frames. The Magistrates are therefore extremely Desirous of knowing what course it would be desireable to pursue with regard to him at the Assizes — & thus hope that your Lordship will have the Goodness to enquire of the Law Officers of the Crown in what way they would advise the Magistrates to shape a Case against him to avoid him being sett at Liberty & to insure if possible some degree of Punishment for the part he has acted in this Business. If any thing further should be made the Magistrates will give Directions that it shall be immediately reported to your Lordship

I have [etc]
Geo Coldham
Town Clerk

23d Febry 1813.

[To] Lord Sidmouth

Thursday, 21 February 2013

21st February 1813: Lieutenant Cooper reports an attack on the property of a relative of William Horsfall

Elland 21st February 1813—


I have the Honor to inform you that nothing of importance has occurred to me to report this week. To morrow morning one Serjeant and ten Privates of my Detachment will march for Wakefield agreeable to an order, received by me, through Major Garnham.

The destruction of some young Plantations belonging to Mr. Hague and Mr. Horsfall of Huddersfield, has of course been reported to you, I understand that the damage done them was to a large amount, the same Gentleman have had anonymous threatening letters sent them.

I am happy to inform you Sir, that many people of Elland have been before Mr. Scott the Magistrate to take the Oath of allegiance, I have not yet learnt the names of them, accepting one (William Harvey) who I had before Mr Radcliffe Several times but my evidence was not sufficient to convict him.

Allow me, Sir, to return you my thanks to the leave of absence that you have granted me

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

[To] Major General Ackland,
&c. &c. &c.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

20th February 1813: William Hay lauds informers and spies to General Acland

Ackworth 20th Feby 1813.

My dear Sir,

Sir Francis Wood (who is confined to his bed with the gout) yesterday evening sent me over your letter of the 25th instant, wishing that I would consider it. We feel much obliged by Genl Maitland's & your kind offer of continuing a detachment at Pontefract. I understand that there is at present a considerable Store of Ammunition there which it would not be adviseable to leave without guard. Some correspondence is carrying between Sir F. Wood & Lord Fitzwilliam on the subject of applying for a more regular Depôt than we now have: I therefore think, that for the present, it would be adviseable for the Riding to avail itself of the offer you have been so good as to make, assuring you that as soon as any thing is determined in respect of the new Depôt, or any change takes place respecting the deposit of Arms, you shall be informed.

The time of my journey from Manchr was so limited, that I was not able to call at Milnsbridge, as I had fully intended. What I heard at Huddersfield was certainly very encouraging and I should hope may be lasting. I understand that some attempt has been made in respect of Walker the Evidence. Surely he can never be so fool hardy as to continue in his Old neighbourhood! If he is impressed that he is safe, I should think most others will be so. We have a last closed with Fleming, the witness against the 38: he has been paid for his trouble &c and with liberty to settle with his family, wherever he pleases. His wishes were ridiculous – wanted an ensigns commission &c &c – but this being out of the question, a sum was paid him; & the public has done its duty fully. I suspect that he will remain in Manchester—It is quite delightful to those who witnessed the triumphant ground on which McDonald stood at York, to read the report of the case as it is now printed. He certainly rose powerfully in proportion as he found how weak Mr. Brougham was on his Cross Examination – I know that it will give you pleasure to hear that (unless some new cause has arisen) John is free of incarceration. I applied for a pardon as soon as I got to Manchester, and saw our friend in all apparent freedom – seemingly returned to his old Habits. He had no expectation of this – and when Dunstan told him that he had orders to Liberate him [Shan] was quite overcome, & would not believe it. I have only to add my best wishes. I expect to be at Wakefield soon, when I hope to be so fortunate as to meet with you. I am, Dr. Sir,

Your faithful & obedt humble servant
WR Hay

[To] Majr Genl Acland

20th February 1813: Francis Raynes meets General Maitland to discuss a possible reward for his efforts

In his memoirs Captain Francis Raynes gives a description of a meeting he says took place between himself and General Maitland on Saturday 20th February 1813 at York, after being invited there by General Acland:
General Maitland required to see me at York, for the purpose of asking what were my views and wishes in the subject of a remuneration for my services. I mentioned the Duke of Montrose having obtained for one of his officers, formerly a Captain in his regiment, the appointment of Collector of the Customs. A military appointment for me, was quite out of the question. I had long before quitted the army, and the idea of re-entering it did not occur to my imagination.

When I gained the notice of the Generals, I was a Captain of militia; they employed me in that rank, till it was found I could be more extensively useful in a larger command, and I had the country given into my care, which had previously been under the command of a Colonel in the army. This weight and responsibility was thrown upon me, without any advantage to myself. I had not had the smallest increase of pay: but, on the contrary, was always very considerably in advance for the public, and, from the divided and scattered state of my company, I was losing money every day by it. Added to this, my private expenditure was, from necessity, extremely heavy, so that I had a right, having fulfilled all that was required of me, to expect my remuneration would be commensurate to the situation I was placed in, and the responsibility thrown upon me, for the direct purpose of serving the Government. This, in a military line, could not be: but surely there was no impediment in the civil; especially after the precedent above mentioned, in an officer of the very corps to which I belonged.

As it was not in my power to mention any particular office, I merely stated to General Maitland I should be happy to obtain any situation under the Government, which would produce from three to four hundred pounds per annum, either in England or Scotland. The value of what I should ask, had been previously mentioned by General Acland; and General Maitland did me the honor to say, he was anxious something should be done for me immediately, adding “now is the time;if you do not get it now, you never may.” Words truly prophetic of the event.
From other documents, it would appear that Raynes may have embroidered his memoirs: a letter exists from General Acland to Maitland, which was written on 24th February 1813, where Acland informs his superior about Raynes' desire for a post at Excise & Customs on a salary of £300-400 a year. Had Raynes met Maitland with Acland 4 days earlier, there would have been no need for Acland to write this part of his letter.

Monday, 18 February 2013

18th February 1813: General Maitland sends a last letter from the West Riding to Lord Sidmouth

York 18th Febry 1813.

My dear Lord.

I return’d here last night, finding the unfortunate business that carried me to Scotland was likely to hang on for a considerable time, though without any reasonable chance of alternate recovery—

It gives me the greatest satisfaction to be able to report to Your Lordship, that every expectation we had form’d of the restoration of tranquillity has prov’d perfectly well-grounded; & that the whole temper of the country is completely alter’d. In some instances the persons to whom I had still given military aid, have themselves applied to have it removed, as no longer necessary, & in the instance of Mr. Radcliffe himself, he writes me, that he hopes it may be dispers’d with at an early period.

The Military reports are more & more favorable each week, and in the last it is stated that several of the persons connected with the late trials have left the country, in one of them made by the ablest officers we had employ’d, he states “I have much satisfaction in observing that a material alteration is taking place in the sentiments & disposition of the people, from the anxious conversations which have been held in Public Houses, & repeated to me by persons whose information I can rely on, I find many of those who were known to be most active in the late disturbances have been heard to say they are sensible of the folly of their conduct, & are sorry they ever had any thing to do with such a bad concern.”

The General spirit of alarm has totally eas’d, & in short I have no hesitation in stating, that the evil spirit which at one time existed is entirely eradicated.

To suppose that as long as the high price of provisions continues it will not be the source of momentary & occasional dissatisfaction, would be going a great deal too far, but I am perfectly confident in my own mind, that when such symptoms occur they will appear totally disconnected with all that spirit of combination & general understanding which has heretofore existed — in truth I do not think it is going a bit too far, & I congratulate your Lordship in being able to state it to say, that the spirit of Luddism is completely extinguish’d.

Neither does the small matter of those who have avail’d themselves of the Royal Proclamation (not more than Fifty) alter my opinion on this head, in this Riding it is clear the system of swearing in was never so general as in Lancashire & in Cheshire, & I much fear that most of them who had taken the Oath were implicated not only in the stealing of Arms, but in other atrocities—

Under all the circumstances it seems to me highly expedient that the heavy pressure of the Military should in some degree be ameliorated. Upon this head something has been done already, as three Regts have been gradually mov’d out of these Districts during the last Two months, but I own I think that we can afford a diminution of at least two more, which will leave the West Riding with three Regs of Infantry & a complete Regt of Cavalry – a force I think completely adequate to any thing we can look to at present, & I propose taking measures of this effect immediately.

In doing this however I trust your Lordship will believe that it shall not be done in any way so as to create the most trifling alarm or dissatisfaction on the contrary I'm convinc’d there is no one person who is conversant with the subject must not agree with me that the force I have above specified is fully adequate under the present circumstances to maintain the tranquillity & security of the hitherto disturbed part of this district.

I shall have the Honor of writing to your Lordship again to morrow, & I am My dear Lord

Your’s ever
T Maitland

[To] Lord Viscount Sidmouth.
&c &c &c &c

Friday, 15 February 2013

15th February 1813: The Deputy Town Clerk of Nottingham reports shots fired at an employer

Nottingham 15th Feby 1813

My Lord

By direction of the Mayor and Aldermen of this Town our report your Lordship that a most daring outrage was committed in the Town at 6 oClock yesterday morning by some person firing Slugs into the supposed Lodging room of a Mr Samuel Ash a Manufacturer of Braces and other Network. Suspicion attaching to several men the Mayor & Aldermen sat the whole of yesterday and were engaged in examining the Persons whom they apprehended until 12 oClock last night. Two of them Thomas Kirke & Thomas Neaps were committed to prison for further Examination. In the House of Kirke a large Pistol was found — concealed in a hollow part of the floor in a room in his House which is called here the House place where the Family usually reside; and it is the opinion of Major Humphrey who are seen and examined the Pistol that it had been recently fired off and that it is sufficiently large to have fired from it the Slugs found in Ash’s room

There was also found in Ash’s Kirke’s House a Bayonet and Hanger and from the facts disclosed upon his and other mens Examinations there is strong ground of Suspicion that he and Neaps have been concerned in this Transaction. There is not at present any positive proof against either of them but the Magistrates hope as upon further Investigation something will transpire to lead to the detection of the offenders.

I have [etc]
H Enfield
Dy Town Clerk

Your Lordship will
have the goodness to excuse
the hurried writing of this
letter — Time allows not
of any Copy

[To] The Rt Honble Lord Sidmouth

15th February 1813: 'An Attentive Hearer' writes another missive on George Mellor's last words

Mr. PRINTER.—Sir, —The Chaplain and the Editor are this week silent, and a “Diligent Enquirer” has once more entered the lists; it must however be confessed his temper is not improved by his retirement. When he first set out on his Enquiry, he declared he wished to ascertain, whether I was right or wrong, and this was as it should be: the public are the best judges whether his published Enquiries have not strengthened my assertion: he has now however fallen from his respectable situation, and instead of remaining a “Diligent Enquirer”, he has degraded himself by turning, a Vile Defamer; he now seems wishful to end this affair in a personal quarrel, and that too, on the same polite terms as one might reasonably expect, from the regular frequenters of a common alehouse. I before told him, I conceived there was no argument in wages, and I now inform him, I am sure there’s none in railing and abuse; that cause must be tottering, which stands in need of such support.

In answer to this week's letter I would refer him to that inserted by himself in the Leeds Mercury of 23d January. He there publishes the report of those of whom he had enquired: he says, some informed him Mellor made use of the following expression, “even to his murderers;” he now calls this, “only hazarding a supposition.” I cannot even give him credit for being “an ingenious quibbler.” It stands published in the form of an assertion, a positive assertion of persons, whom of course he could depend upon, or he would not have been the means of publishing their report; now when Mr. Brown and the Editor say it is false, he wants to get rid of it; he says he merely “hazarded a supposition and that for the purpose of giving as candid a construction as possible to my publication.” The public must here again decide. I agree with a diligent Enquirer that my declaration, “that the Editor of the Mercury has pronounced a “diligent Enquirer,” a false publisher, is as far from the truth, as that Mellor made use of the words “Die Game” and “us poor murderers.” I maintain they are all true. To prove the former to be a fact, I would refer a “Diligent Enquirer” to Mr. Brown's letter of the 30th of January. Mr Brown says that the word was not “murderers,” but “adulterers,” and the Editor remarks his authority is indefinitely superior to that of any other; he then adds if “an attentive hearer” possesses a spark of candour, he will hasten publicly to retract his confident assertion, &c.

I grant he does not link his friend the “Diligent Enquirer,” with the “Attentive Hearer;” he certainly gives me the lie direct, for having introduced the word “murderers” into Mellor's prayer, and if the Diligent Enquirer can pocket this affront, he exercises more charity towards his friends, than from what I know of him, I should suppose him incapable of.

I have not the slightest objection to engage any of my antagonists, when they come forward like gentlemen, but if in future they shall appear clothed in raillery and abuse, I must beg leave to pass their remarks unnoticed.

I am, Your’s, &c.
Leeds, Feb 13th, 1813.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

14th February 1813: Attack on plantations belonging to a relative of William Horsfall and another man

At some point during the evening of Sunday 14th February 1813, persons unknown attacked two young plantations of trees in the Huddersfield area. One belonged to a man called Mr Hague, another to a Mr Horsfall (possibly John Horsfall, William's brother). At Hague's plantation, upwards of 500 trees were broken, with a smaller number at Horsfall's.

14th February 1813: Attack on the Tenters of a relative of a witness at the York Special Commission

John Drake senior was a cropper who kept Tenters at his home at Longroyd Bridge. At some point during the evening of Sunday 14th February 1813, one of his Tenters was destroyed by persons unknown.

Drake's son, Joseph, had given evidence for the prosecution at the trial of men accused of being involved in the attack at Rawfolds Mill at the York Special Commission on 9th January 1813.

14th February 1813: Francis Raynes reports a changed mood around Liversedge

Mills Bridge 14 Feby


I have the Honor to report the continued tranquillity of this part of the country—

I have much satisfaction in observing that a material alteration is taking place in the sentiments and disposition of the People, from various conversations which have been held in Public Houses, and repeated to me by persons whose information I can rely upon, I find many of those who were known to be most active in the late disturbances have been heard to say, they are sensible of folly of their conduct, and are sorry they ever had any thing to do with such a bad concern—

I am told about twenty have taken the Oath of Allegiance before Mr. Scott, I applied to him for information on the subject, which he has declined giving me, as he conceives himself bound to secrecy. I have the Honor to enclose Mr. Scotts reply to me.

I have [etc]
Francis Raynes Captn
Stirling &c Militia

Major General Acland
&c. &c. &c.

14th February 1813: Lt-Colonel Lang reports that Joseph Radcliffe remain unpopular

Huddersfield Feby 14th


I have the honor to acquaint you nothing [intimidating] has occurred since my report of Sunday last. The Detachment at Bradley Mill discontinued – About forty persons have been with Mr. Scott & [untwisted] themselves of the Prince Regents proclamation, since published. One with Mr. Armitage none with Mr. Ratcliffe—

The town and neighbourhood perfectly quiet

I have [etc]
R Lang Lt Col
South Devon Regt.

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

14th February 1813: Assassination attempt on a manufacturer, Samuel Ash, in Nottingham

At 6.00 a.m. on Sunday 14th February 1813 a net lace manufacturer, Samuel Ash, and his wife were asleep in their house at Poplar Place in Nottingham. They were awoken by the sound of a pistol being discharged and then that of breaking glass in a neighbouring room.

The shot had been fired by assailants unknown into a room that he and his wife used as a bedroom until recently. Had they been sleeping there that morning, they would have taken the full force of the various pieces of lead slugs used to make the shot.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

13th February 1813: 'A Diligent Enquirer' responds to 'An Attentive Hearer' yet again


SIR,—“An Attentive Hearer” shines more as an ingenious quibbler, than as a faithful Narrator. His declaration, that the Editor of the Mercury has pronounced a Diligent Enquirer a publisher of falsehoods, is as far from the truth as his unblushing assertion—that Mellor, the malefactor, in his last address, talked about dying Game! and as erroneous as the declaration, that he used the expression “us poor murderers.” The truth is, that I wished to give as candid a constitution to the publication made by “An Attentive Hearer,” as possible, and therefore hazarded a supposition that he had mistaken “his murderers” for “us poor murderers;” but, so far from publishing a falsehood on the subject, I merely stated this as a matter of conjecture.

By why should I dwell upon a point already established beyond the possibility of reasonable doubt, though not beyond the reach of quibbling pertinacity; and why insist on a subject, on which there is but one opinion, and that opinion is, that “An Attentive Hearer, either from intention or error, or partly from both, has put into the mouth of a dying man, words that he never used.

What could be his motive for so committing himself, in the first instance, it is not easy to imagine; but it is probable, that after having told the story publicly, he thought it more magnanimous to proceed in error, than to retrace his steps into the paths of truth; perhaps too he had a wish to enjoy a laugh at his printer, by trying how far he could be made the dupe of such a marvellous story; and his printer, in order, I suppose, to resent the affront, and to render the DYING SPEECH MAKER as ridiculous as himself, insisted Mr. Brown's contradiction immediately under “An Attentive Hearer's Letter;” so that they now laugh at each other; and they may rely upon it, that the public would, if the subject was not too grave for merriment, laugh at them both.

I am yours truly,

Monday, 11 February 2013

11th February 1813: John Beckett of the Home Office instructs General Acland to distribute anti-Luddite propaganda in the West Riding


11.—Febry. 1813.

My Dear Sir

We have just published an Account of the late Trials at York—which it is desirable to circulate in the West Riding more particularly in the neighbourhood of Huddersfield from whence some of the worst of the Cases came

With this View the Printer has been ordered to dispatched through the General Post Office – a considerable No of Copies of this Publication to General Maitland at York – I apprehend however that the General may be detained in Scotland longer than He expected – and it is possible that the Pamphlets in question may remain at York till His Return instead of being distributed immediately as Lord Sidmouth wishes they should be

To prevent the possible Delay in the Circulation of them I am induced to trouble you with this Letter to request you would take such steps as may appear to you most adviseable for accomplishing the Object in View – I did intimate to Genl Maitland a short time ago – that Copies of the above md Publication would be sent to Him as soon as they could be finished – and it is not improbable that he may have left some Orders at York with yourself as to the Circulation of them if they should arrive at York in His absence

I have [etc]

[To] M.G. Ackland
&c &c &c

Sunday, 10 February 2013

10th February 1813: General Acland updates General Maitland about the siutation in the West Riding

Wakefield 10th Feby 1813

My dear Sir

Having daily expected your return, I discontinued writing, having heard from Hamilton, that you had directed your letters not to be forwarded after Friday, however, had any thing occurred worthy of notice, I shd have risked a letter reaching you at Dunbar

It will be satisfactory for you to know that the Country remains perfectly quiet, & there is every appearance of its continuing so — About ten or twelve persons have come in to take the Oath of Allegiance before Mr Scott, but none have appeared before any other magistrate

Lt Cooper informs me six or seven persons have run away from Sowerby near Halifax who were concerned in the late disturbances, some of whom have left the Country thro’ fear, & I have a letter forwarded by Cooper from a man he endeavoured to persuade to go before a magistrate to take the Oath of Allegiance that “he was going to leave the Country, as soon as possible, an attorney whom he consulted, having told him, the pardon only reached such as had been charged with any Offence.”

A meeting of magistrates was held on the 4th Inst., herewith I send you the resolutions they passed.

I did not see Lord Fitzwilliam, being out with the Troops at the time—

Mr Atkinson Bradley Mill near Huddersfield has sent to request the Guard at his mill may be withdrawn (which I have directed to be done

If you meets your approbation, I think it a good time to discontinue the Infantry party at Marsden & also to reduce Lt Coopers detachment to twenty men: by [Sizing] down the parties; in this manner the people will not miss them & their confidence will remain — The small party of Cavalry at Holmfirth may likewise be very well dispensed with — & I should hope by the time you return, you may think of reducing or taking away some of the others altogether

A letter has been forwarded to M. General Dirom, with an application in favor of Coll Maxwell of the 7th Dragoon guards who has been superseded which I have left for your decision on — a ridiculous application has been forwarded, thro’ the same Channel from Colonel Clay asking Leave of Absence for Lord Cawdor for a friend during which he was returned Absent without Leave. Do the regular way was to ask for his pay which was respited being allowed. I have sent an answer as M General Dirom is my Senior, this also remains for your return — All the papers (excepting) about the Inn at Warrington which I acquainted you of, & an application from Coll Seele to try a man of the South Hants by the General Courtmartial assembled at Lancaster, have been attended to & brought up.

I will write whenever anything occurs, worth mentioning, but should you not hear from me, you will conclude everything remains quiet. I sincerely regret the melancholy occasion that detains you at Dunbar & remain

(Signed) W.P. Acland

PS. The 33rd have marched from Hull to Windsor

[To] Lt General
The Right Honl
T. Maitland
Dunbar house

Friday, 8 February 2013

8th February 1813: 'An Attentive Hearer' keeps alive the debate about George Mellor's last words

Mr. PRINTER—Sir, when you in inserted my first Letter respecting the execution of Mellor, Thorpe and Smith, the Editor of the Mercury, in a very handsome manner, informed his readers, what I advanced was absolutely false.—To my second he made no reply; his cause was then espoused by “A Diligent Enquirer,” the dispute seemed nearly ended; we had only one word to settle; I was persuaded “A Diligent Enquirer,” if he were also a Candid Enquirer, would decide in my favour. From his silence this week, I must conclude he is now of my opinion. The dispute, in all probability, would have ended here, had not the Rev. George Brown, Chaplain of York Castle, thought it a duty he owes to the public, tho’ late, boldly to step forward and controvert my assertion.

He first positively contradicts me, and then kindly tells me where I may have been mistaken; he fears I have understood the word “Adulterers” for “Murderers.”—He is just one week too late; had he made his appearance sooner, he might, perhaps, have staggered the belief of many.  “A Diligent Enquirer” has already satisfied the public on that head, he has informed them that the obnoxious word “Murderers” did escape from Mellor's lips; but his printer thinks this ought to be surrendered, that no person is so likely to be right as the Reverend Chaplain; nay, that it would be the height of folly and absurdity to dispute his authority.—The Editor of the Mercury is once more roused—after such strong, such respectable testimony, that both “An Attentive Hearer” and “A Diligent Enquirer” have been the instruments of publishing falsehoods to the world, nothing can protect them from the charge of malice or insanity, if they do not immediately retract all they have said, and bow to the super-eminent respectability of the Rev. George Brown, Chaplain of York Castle.

So the Editor of the Mercury would have it.—What effect this appeal will have on “A Diligent Enquirer,” I will not surmise; tho’ I am willing to give the Reverend Chaplain all the credit his well-established character deserves, I will not be so credulous as thus to bow at his nod. No, I will even yet dare to inform the public, if I had before been inclined to doubt whether I was right or wrong, the enquiries I have since made of persons who were also present, would have removed every doubt.

One observation more for the Rev. George Brown, Chaplain of York Castle, and I have done:—Two newspapers printed in York (the Courant and the Herald) in the account they gave of the execution, state that the murderers “confessed the heinousness of the crime.” How strange that this Reverend Gentleman, who feels he has such a duty to perform to strangers, should have no regard for his fellow citizens, but will silently allow them to be dupes of “mischievous” Editors; he has no pity for them—what else can be his reason for taking no notice of these gross falsehoods;—did the old proverb ever recur to his mind—“A Prophet is not honoured in his own City?”— I am, &c.


Leeds, Jan. [illegible], 1813.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

7th February 1813: The West Riding magistrate, Joseph Scott, writes to the Home Office about the Oath of Allegiance

Woodsome Feby 7th 1813


The Subject of this Letter is not, perhaps, of Importance enough to warrant a direct communication to Lord Sidmouth; yet I think that it may be gratifying to his Lordship and H.M’s Government to know that a considerable number of those deluded Persons, who have been engaged in Outrages in this Neighbourhood, have come to me, within the Course of the last Fortnight, for the purpose of taking the Oath of Allegiance to his Majesty.

It appears, from the Confessions of these people, that not one of them has taken that abominable Oath, which has been [jointly] generally used on the Borders of Lancashire and Cheshire, (termed twisting in) nor have they entered into any Engagement of a similar nature; I am disposed to give full Credit to this, for they have all been very communicative in their Accounts of nightly Expeditions to break Shearing=Frames.—Now it appears that the Benefit of the Prince Regent's Proclamation extends only to Cases of unlawful Oaths and the stealing of Arms, and, from the Circumstance, I have felt great Doubt, as to the propriety of administering the Oath of Allegiance to such as have been concerned in the Destruction of Machinery only: The Expressions of Contrition, however, have been such, as to induce me not to refuse giving the Oath of Allegiance in any Case; and I trust that in having done so, under such Circumstances, I shall be considered as having acted in Conformity to the mild Spirit of H:R:H’s Proclamation, altho it does appear that the Cases of Shear=breaking does not come within the strict Letter of it.—If I have erred in this Respect, I shall be glad to receive Instructions for my future proceedings.—

I have [etc]
Jos. Scott

[To] John Beckett Esqr
&c &c

7th February 1813: Francis Raynes informs General Acland about Luddite Arms Dumps

Mill Bridge 7th Feby


I have the Honor to report this part of the Country remains perfectly tranquil, I have not heard of the least disorder or outrage of any discription—

I am inform’d by Mr. Scott, from the depositions of persons who have been before him, that it appears, as soon as the offenders were found guilty at York, those concern’d in Arms stealing, thought proper to get them out of the way, by any means in their power, the Arms taken from Clifton &c, were thrown into the Kirklees Mill Dam,

From every enquiry I have made, I cannot learn that there ever was a Depot of Arms in a greater number than half a dozen, or eight Stand in a place

I have [etc]
Francis Raynes Captn
Stirlingshire &c Militia

Major General Acland
&c. &c. &c.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

6th February 1813: Lieutenant Cooper informs General Acland about his 'reluctant' Luddite

Elland 6th February 1813.


I have the Honor to enclose a Letter that I have just received from John Mitchell, the man who was to have taken the Oath of allegiance before Mr Radcliffe and whom I wrote to you of a fortnight since. I am greatly disappointed at his not coming forward as I think his example would have had an excellent effect and have been followed by numbers.

Would you have me try to persuade him to come forward and take the Oath? representing to him that it will be beneficial to him as far as Luddism is concerned and assuring him that he will not be proceeded against for his other Crimes.

I believe the Country around me has been perfectly tranquil since my last Report, for I have heard of no depredations or outrage of any kind having been committed.

I have not yet, Sir, received the Proclamations you said in your last letter you would be so good as to send me.

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

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

Monday, 4 February 2013

4th February 1813: West Riding Magistrates formally thank the military


AT a Special GENERAL MEETING of MAGISTRATES, held at the COURT HOUSE in WAKEFIELD, in the said Riding, on Thursday the 4th of February, 1813:—

The Right Hon. the LORD-LIEUTENANT,
in the Chair;
Sir John Ingilby, Bart.
Sir Francis Lindley Wood, Bart.
Francis Edmunds, Esq.
Rev. William Wood, Clerk;
Benjamin Brooksbank, Esq.
Joseph Radcliffe, Esq.
Godfrey Wentworth Wentworth, Esq.
William Dawson, Esq.
Rev. John Lowe, Clerk;
Matthew Wilson, Esq.
William Weightson, Esq.
Rev. John Taylor, Clerk;
Edward Ferrand Esq.
Benjamin Dealtry, Esq.
Michael Stocks, Esq
John Pemberton Heywood, Esq.
Joseph Scott, Esq.
Watson Scatcherd, Esq.
Rev. Alexander Cook, Clerk;
William Twiss, Esq.

That the most grateful Thanks of this Meeting be returned to the Right Hon. Lieut-Gen. Maitland, the Hon. Lieut-Gen. Grey, Major-Gen. Ackland, and Major-Gen. Stevenson, for their active, zealous, and unremitted Attention to the Suppression of Riot and Disturbance, and the Restoration and Maintenance of the Public Peace and Tranquillity of the West-Riding, and for their Support of the Civil Power upon every Occasion.

That the Right Hon. Lieut-Gen. Maitland be requested to give the Thanks of this Meeting to such Officers and Men under his Command as have been personally engaged in the Protection of Persons and Property, in the Suppression of Riot and Disorder, and in the Preservation of Tranquillity in this Riding, and for the uniform Zeal and Humanity displayed on all Occasions.

That the entire Approbation of this Meeting be conveyed to the Associations and Special Constables, for having adopted the Recommendations of the several Meetings of Lieutenancy, whereby, during the late disturbed State of the Riding, they have so meritoriously and effectually exerted themselves in the Preservation of the Public Peace.

That this meeting also recommends a Continuance of such Exertions, so long as the Magistrates of the several District shall think them necessary.

That the most sincere Thanks of the Meeting be given to Lord Lieutenant, for his distinguished and unremitted Attention to the Duties of his high Situation; and particularly for the useful Suggestions he had communicated to the different Meetings of Lieutenancy, to the Adoption of which the disturbed Districts have been so much indebted.

That these Resolutions be printed, and sent to his Majesty’s Secretary of State for the Home Department, to the General Officers above mentioned, to all the Deputy Lieutenants and Acting Magistrates of the West-Riding; to the Commandants of Corps, Subdivision Clerks, and to the Associations; and that the same be published Once in all the West-Riding Papers.—By Order of the Meeting,

Deputy Clerk of the Peace.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

2nd February 1813: A Luddite is reluctant to swear the Oath of Allegiance

Manchester Febr [2nd]

Sir I received a letter from my father desiring me to meet him at Mill Bridge on monday the first I was then near Nottingham and I return you many thanks for your benavelance and General Barnad and the love of Mrs Radcliffe in saying that I might have my freedom I was very glad to hear of it and was going to come but Master desired me not to be too hasty therefore I Went to anatorney and asked about it and he told me that the pardon only reached such as had not been charged and if I came I must sufer as the othershad done Therefore I ham going to leave the cuntry as soon as posable so I return you all thanks for yunr love to me and my father so no more at presant from yours

John Mitchell farewell

To Captain Cooper of
The Cumberland
Miltia Elland Near
Halifax yorkshire

Friday, 1 February 2013

1st February 1813: The Prince Regent issues a Proclamation condemning Luddism and supporting machinery

By His Royal Highness The PRINCE of WALES, REGENT of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in the Name and on the Behalf of His Majesty.



Whereas we have beheld, with the deepest regret, the during outrages committed in those parts of England wherein some of the most important manufactures of the realm, have been for a longtime carried on: And being firmly persuaded that such outrages have been, in a great degree, occasioned by the wicked misrepresentations and artifices of ill-designing persons, who have deluded the ignorant and unwary, through the specious pretext of procuring additional employment and increased wages for the labouring manufacturers, by the destruction of the various kinds of machinery now most beneficially employed in the manufactures of this kingdom, and have thus seduced them to enter into unlawful associations, and to bind their consciences by oaths and engagements not less injurious to their own welfare, than destructive of the good order and happiness of society; and seeing that the extent and progress of the trade and manufactures of this country, which have been continually advanced by the invention and improvement of machinery, afford the best practical demonstration of the falsehood of all such pretexts; we, therefore, acting in the name and on the behalf of his majesty, being anxious by every means in our power to bring back his majesty's misguided subjects to a just sense of their own individual interests, as well as of their duty to his majesty, and of the regard which they owe to the welfare of the community, have thought fit, by the advice of his majesty's privy council, to issue this proclamation; and we do hereby, in the name and on the behalf of his majesty, exhort all his majesty's loving subjects strenuously to exert themselves in their several stations to prevent the recurrence of those atrocious combinations and crimes, by which the public peace has been so long disturbed, and the persons and property of individuals endangered and destroyed, and which have so justly drawn down upon the offenders the severest penalties of the law. And we do more especially warn those, who may be exposed to such seductions, against the danger of binding themselves by illegal oaths and engagements to obey the commands of secret directors, who, keeping themselves aloof, involve their deluded associates in all the guilt and peril of violence, robbery, and murder. And we do further, in the name and on the behalf of his majesty, earnestly recommend and enjoin his majesty's loving subjects, whenever it shall be found necessary, to have recourse to the salutary measures which the wisdom of parliament has provided for the protection of persons and property. And we do further exhort the proprietors of machinery, not to be deterred from continuing the use and employment of the same, but vigilantly and strenuously to exert themselves in the maintenance and defence of their property, and in the prosecution of their lawful and meritorious callings, in the full persuasion that due watchfulness and resolution, exhibited in the first instance on their own part, will, as has been proved by recent experience, most effectually prevent or repel such unlawful aggressions. And we do, further, in the name and on the behalf of his majesty, charge and command all sheriffs, justices of the peace, mayors, bailiffs, constables and other civil officers, to continue their utmost vigilance and activity for the preservation of peace and good order, the prevention of nightly and other unlawful meetings of ill-designing and wicked men, and for the defence of his majesty's peaceable and industrious subjects from the secret machinations and open attacks of the violators of private property, and the disturbers of the public tranquillity: trusting, as we do, that by the constant and active exertions of all well-disposed men, the misguided may be reclaimed, and the mischievous kept in awe, without the necessity of recurring to the chastisements of the law, which it will be our duty, as guardian of the general peace and prosperity of the realm, strictly to enforce, if unhappily the renewal of such atrocities, as we have lately had to deplore, should again call for the infliction of just and exemplary punishment.

Given at the Court at Carlton House, this first day of February 1813, in the 53rd year of His Majesty's reign.

GOD Save The KING.