Sunday 31 March 2013

31st March 1813: William Simpson is hanged at Nottingham

On Wednesday 31st March 1813, William Simpon was hanged in Nottingham. Aged about 40, he was a framework-knitter from Bulwell, found guilty at the Nottingham Lent Assizes of a burglary n Watnall.

Friday 29 March 2013

29th March 1813: 'An Attentive Hearer' writes another missive about George Mellor's last words

Mr. PRINTER,—My Opponent this week declares me dead; had it been so, his paragraph might have passed; I would have to know that I am "Game," and still living, ready at all times to assert the truth.

My adversary would fain be thought learned in the law of evidence. It is not however the first time he has made a great noise about what in reality he is perfectly ignorant of. I will endeavour to make this subject intelligible to him, and suppose a case brought before a Jury, in which four respectable persons shall positively declare they were witnesses of a certain fact, and all agree in the account they give of it: to contradict which, seven persons, equally respectable, shall give the following testimony:—Six shall declare they cannot positively say how it was; one, to the best of his knowledge and belief, it was not stated correctly by the four first witnesses; and every one of the seven, when interrogated as to the real fact, shall each give a different account of it.—I would ask the "Diligent Enquirer" if he were one of the Jury, how would he decide?—This is a plain case, exactly similar to our own, four persons of character declare that they distinctly heard the confession of Mellor. Out of seven brought to oppose, six say they cannot positively remember how it was; and one, to the best of his knowledge and belief, thinks it was not so; and all differ in their opinion as to what really said.

The "Diligent Enquirer" may quibble over this if he can: he knows I can prove it to be fact: his cause seems to stand by quibbling, railing and abusing, in which polite attainments he has indeed eminently excelled in the controversy I have had with him; it would be well for him if he would learn in future to be more cautious how he commits himself. One untruth is in general the father of another, so he has proved it. If it were necessary to answer his paragraph at length, I would do it and prove him again wading in falsehoods. The public must however be tired of this dispute, the subject of it is now for ever settled: that the murderers of Mr. Horsfall were declared by their Ringleader to be "Murderers." I believe none will now dispute excepting the "Diligent Enquirer," who has already declared he will not be convinced.—Well might Hudibras say,

Convince a man against his will,
He’s of the same opinion still.


Leeds, March 27th, 1813.

Thursday 28 March 2013

28th March 1813: John Drake's Tenters are smashed again at Longroyd Bridge

On Sunday 28th March 1813, six weeks after a similar attack, the Tenters belonging to John Drake, the father of Joseph Drake who gave evidence at the York Special Commission, were again smashed during the night.

Wednesday 27 March 2013

27th March 1813: The Leeds Mercury publishes an editorial about 'an Attentive Hearer'

It must be admitted on all hands that an Attentive Hearer "dies game," or after the figure he has already cut, he would never have written another letter of half column, turning upon a mere verbal quibble—a distinction without a difference. If he he not extremely ignorant of the nature of evidence, he must know that the testimony of witnesses speaking "according to the best of their knowledge and belief" is regularly received in our courts of justice. Indeed knowledge and belief are the only grounds on which a man can with certainty aver any thing. Will his authorities say that his assertions are true according to the best of their knowledge and belief? He knows they will not. But it is vain to reason with a man who has lost both his cause and his temper, and who is now evidently contending not for truth, but for the last word. The public have long been convinced that he is in error, and if any thing would have fixed upon his own mind the same conviction, it would have been the fact of his having produced, with no small difficulty, five witnesses to support his dogmatical assertions, three of whom contradicts one half of what he says! a fourth could not distinctly hear!! and the fifth was not present!!!

Saturday 23 March 2013

23rd March 1813: Statue of George III pulled down in Bristol

Between the hours of 9.00 and 10.00 p.m. on Tuesday 23rd March 1813,8 or 9 people vaulted the iron railings surrounding Portland Square in Bristol. They made their way to a statue of the King, George III, which was erected in 1810. A rope was thrown around the neck of the statue, and the group pulled it to the ground, breaking it into pieces. The noise brought many people out into the street, and one of the group was apprehended.

Friday 22 March 2013

22nd March 1813: Two men sentenced to transportation at Derby Lent Assizes for riot at a Corn Mill

On Monday 22nd March 1813, two men - Benjamin Beardsley & George Cope - were sentenced by Sir Vicary Gibbs to 7 years transportation after being convicted of taking part in a riot at a Corn Mill at Ilkeston 5 months previously.

22nd March 1813: 'An Attentive Hearer' writes his longest piece yet on the last words of George Mellor

Mr. PRINTER.—Sir,—It is indeed painful to trespass on the patience of your readers, by so repeatedly calling their attention, to a subject which at first might appear trifling and unimportant; that the murderers were guilty there can be no doubt: it must however be satisfactory to the public to be assured that they confessed guilt: viewing it in this light, I am compelled again to appear before the public. On the 9th January, I communicated to you my statement of the execution of Mr. Horsfall's Murderers, in which I informed you, that the following sentence was used by Mellor in his prayer: "Thou who cast devils out of Mary Magdalen, thou who pardonest the thief upon the Cross,—thou canst still save thieves, aye and even us poor murderers." The three last words, "us poor murderers," A Diligent Enquirer has continued constantly and positively to contradict.

He confesses he was not present; but has repeatedly boasted of his authorities; and on all occasions drawn up a Noble Phalanx of official Characters, Persons who, from their consequence at executions, must of course hear for all. These, he has always vociferated, were quite positive the words were never used, one would have supposed they would have been equally confident—but No, they will not see him through; they only now, to use his own language, "declare to him that to the best of their knowledge and belief, the words in question were not used;" here am I left without an opponent. After all the vaunting of my adversary, he at last publishes his own infamy; and positively contradicts himself: indeed so fond have my antagonists been of contradiction, they have at no time hesitated pointedly to controvert the testimony of each other.

If the Diligent Enquirer had in the first instance spoken the truth, he would have required no answer. When he so readily showered down such volleys of abuse, and so confidently boasted of his positive information, one would have supposed he had at least some authorities to produce; this week however he publicly confesses he has none—had my report been unaccompanied by the testimony of any other, I have fair claim to public credit; not one who can positively contradict me!!—But my assertion is corroborated by the authority of other persons, "Gentlemen of character" who do not merely state, that, "to the best of their knowledge and belief" they heard Mellor confess himself and his companions to be murderers. No—they state positively that they distinctly heard the words. Here then is a proof positive that I am correct; I do not expect the "Diligent Enquirer" will allow this; when he introduced himself to me, he candidly told me "he would not be convinced." The public however will not be thus duped. The truth of my assertion as far as relates to "us poor murderers" is now most positively established, "the Diligent Enquirer" himself being the reporter. In my letter to you of the 9th January, I also quoted the following passage from Mellor's Prayer: "There are many here who have come expecting to see is die Game, let such know that we the penitent—we acknowledge the heinousness of our sins, and our only hope to be forgiven is in the infinite and boundless mercy of our redeemer."

The "Diligent Enquirer" and his friends have also objected much to the expression, "Die Game," it has however remained the one of their own authorities to be a corroborating evidence to the use of it; he states that he distinctly heard the words "die Game" used when Mellor was praying, but he believes it was not Mellor that used them—I hope my opponent will be convinced that those words did not originate with myself; that they were used is now certain; and that they were not used by Mellor, yet remains to be proved.

The "Printer’s" paragraph respecting the Reverend Gentleman, at York, reflects no credit on its author; had it been necessary to have further proofs of his duplicity, he has furnished me with one. If he chose to notice part, he ought to have mentioned all. When I gave him the names of my references, I mentioned to him that I had just been with a friend who told me a Gentleman had said, that a Reverend Gentleman who resides in York, had mentioned the circumstance, stating that he was on the platform at the time, and that the "Attentive Hearer" was correct. I informed him, I believed that gentleman would corroborate what I said;—it was of course impossible I could have written to him, up having only heard this a few hours before I was with the "Diligent Enquirer;" he cannot say I mentioned the Reverend Gentleman's name, in any other way, than as now stated by me.

I must apologize to your readers for trespassing so long, but cannot take leave of this subject without recommending my opponent, when he again undertakes to contradict any one, to have better grounds for his confident and positive assertions; and not amuse his readers with vapouring about a long list of Authorities, whose testimony in the end, according to his own statement, amounts to nothing. Let him take a view of his abusive language, throughout the whole of this dispute. Let him remember what he has charged me with; then look to his authorities, and after all see himself absolutely obliged to publish my vindication.—Let him do this and refrain from blushing if he can!


Leeds, March 13th, 1813.

Wednesday 20 March 2013

20th March 1813: Edmund Newton walks free from Lancaster Lent Assizes

Edmund Newton, a weaver from Hadfield in Derbyshire, had been taken up as part of the 'Manchester 38' in Manchester on 11th June 1812. At the trial of the '38' at Lancaster Summer Assizes in August 1812, he had been acquitted of being present at the administration of an illegal oath, but was immediately re-arrested on similar charges.

After 9 months in Lancaster Castle, it was now his turn to stand trial at the Lent Assizes, which commenced on Saturday 20th March 1813. He was charged with administering an illegal oath to James Lawton at Hadfield, but the prosecution was not proceeded with. As was customary, the newspapers of the day rarely featured the trials of those acquitted or otherwise discharged, and so we do not have any further details, and there are no papers in the Home Office archive.

20th March 1813: General Maitland commends some of his officers to the Home Secretary

Stratton Street, 20th March

My Lord

(The Disturbances in the Manufacturing Districts being now happily and completely terminated, and the Troops employed on that Service being about to be considerably dispersed—And as I am myself upon the Eve of leaving the Yorkshire District, it is a Duty I owe both your Lordship and myself to state the deep Sense I feel of the eminent propriety and zeal manifested by all the Officers and men of the militia Regiments under my Orders) upon that Occasion.—

It certainly could not be called a Service of Danger but it was one where great Industry Patience, Perseverance & Firmness combined with Temper were eminently necessary.

Independent however of the general merit which justly attaches to all, it naturally from Circumstances occurred, that some of the Officers were more actively employed that others—And that from being so employed, they have a greater opportunity of manifesting their zeal and Devotion for the Service of their Country, which they did with a degree of Intelligence Industry and Perseverance highly honorable to themselves and tending in its Consequences to the happy result that has taken place—

So deeply Convinced and I of their merits upon this Occasion that I feel it at once a paramount & a pleasing Duty to mention their names to Your Lordship  – humbly trusting, should your Lordship agree with me in opinion, that through your Lordship’s recommendation it may be the means of obtaining for them some favorable Consideration from his Royal Highness the Prince Regent.

The names of these officers are Captain Rayne of the Stirling Militia — Lieuts Cooper and Young of the West Suffolk — Lieut Galloway of the North Lincoln & Ensign Mclachlan of the Stirling Militia—

In troubling your Lordship on the present Occasion I have only to add that I had no knowledge of any of these Gentlemen till I knew them from the Services they had rendered.—

I have [etc]
T Maitland
&c &c

[To] Viscount Sidmouth
&c &c &c

Sunday 17 March 2013

17th March 1813: Cases at the York Lent Assizes

The York Lent Assizes for 1813 concluded with sentencing on Wednesday 17th March, but by then, several cases connected with the Luddites had been before the Court.

Two teenagers from Huddersfield - Joseph Sykes, a 15 year-old cropper and John Thornton, a 14 year-old wool-sorter, had been accused of breaking into the house of Abraham Horsfall (most likely William Horsfall's father) in Huddersfield and stealing spirits and other articles. They were found Not Guilty.

Various manufacturers whose premises were attacked by Luddites had brought compensation claims against the local authority. The Leeds Intelligencer covered what happened:
Thirteen different actions were brought by manufacturers and others, against the Hundred or Wapentake of Agbrigg and Morley, to recover compensation for damages done to their machinery and buildings by the Luddites. The business was to have come on, on Tuesday, when Mr. Parke, counsel for the Plaintiffs, stated his objections to the court, against their proceeding. Five of the actions were ordered to stand over till the next assizes; and the records on the remaining eight were withdrawn, under the expectation that Government will make the requisite compensation to the sufferers.
Finally, a case left over from the York Special Commission was also heard. Again, the Leeds Intelligencer had the details:
James Starkie, who was held to bail, to appear at the present Assizes, on a charge of conspiring to affect the demolition of Rawfolds Mill, did not appear when called on. One of his bail said that Starkie had acted under the advice of his attorney.

Mr Parke said, the Defendant had been ill-advised; it was his duty to have appeared personally in Court to answer to this indictment, as it was impossible that he could know what course might have been adopted respecting him. But it was not his intention to insist upon his appearance. If the Defendant had been tried it late Special Assize, I should have thought it my duty, in the then state of the County, to have laid evidence before his Lordship and you on the subject; but, in consequence of the present happy and tranquil state of the County, the result of those severe but necessary examples which were made on a late occasion, I have determined to lay no evidence before you, and to consent to the acquittal of the Prisoner. And I hope this will be considered as a further proof that Government wish to do nothing oppressive to any of his Majesty's subjects, and that their only anxiety has been to restore tranquillity and good order.

The Jury of course acquitted the Prisoner.

Saturday 16 March 2013

16th March 1813: Three Luddite burglars sentenced to death at Nottingham Lent Assizes

At Nottingham Lent Assizes on Tuesday 16th March 1813, 3 men were sentenced to death by hanging for burglary.

William Simpson, James Barker and Richard Selby were convicted before the Judge, Sir Vicary Gibbs, of breaking into the home of a farmer, Stephen Watson of Watnall, and stealing 6 cheeses, 4 silver teaspoons, some money (£1, 9 shillings and 7 pence) a gun and other sundry items. All three were sentenced to death. Barker and Selby were subsequently reprieved, unlike Simpson, who had held a gun at Watson and threatened to shoot him.

Simpson's execution was scheduled for 31st March.

Thursday 14 March 2013

14th March 1813: Captain Francis Raynes informs General Acland that William Cartwright wants to reduce the guard at Rawfolds Mill

Mill bridge 14th March


Since I had last the Honor to report to you I have heard a good deal dissatisfaction express’d by those persons who have had their Arms stolen that the Oath of Allegiance should have been administer’d without the depredator declaring what had become of the Arms, or giving such information as might lead to a satisfactory account of the disposal of them — some have gone so far as to say, they will prosecute notwithstanding His Majesty's Pardon —

Would it be adviseable Sir, to ask Sir George Armytages permission to search the Kirklees Mill Dam? as it appears to be the general opinion some are there.

Mr Cartwright feels so much confidence in the alter’d disposition of the People, as to have desired me if I thought proper to reduce his Mill Guard to a Corporal and five Privates—

I have [etc]
Francis Raynes Captain
Stirlingshire &c militia

Major General Acland.
&c — &c — &c

Wednesday 13 March 2013

13th March 1813: A Leeds Mercury editorial attempts to settle the dispute about George Mellor's last words


A dispute of little interest perhaps, except to the disputants, has for some weeks been maintained to the Leeds Newspapers which we hope now to bring to a close, and to this end it is necessary to take a short review of the circumstances in which it originated. It is well known to the public, that on Friday the 8th of January, George Miller, William Thorp, and Thomas Smith, who had on the Wednesday preceeding, been convicted on the clearest evidence of the atrocious murder of Mr. Horsfall were executed at York; at that awful scene, a person from the office of this paper attended, and the report made by him through the columns of the Mercury was that "George Mellor confessed in general the greatness of his sins, but that he made no confession of the crime for which he suffered." This statement an anonymous writer, under the signature of "an Attentive Hearer," contradicted in the Intelligencer on the Monday following, by asserting that Mellor confessed himself a murderer at the place of execution, and that he also used this remarkable expression, "not die game." On such conflicting testimony, a controversy arose in which an Attentive Hearer continued to maintain that Mellor used both these expressions; and in his second letter he insinuated that the Editor of the Mercury had private reasons, "prudent motives" was his expression for concealing the truth; and this attack at once absurd and unfounded, was entirely unprovoked, as a reference to the papers up to that time will show. To contend in person with an adversary without a name, and who had made so free and use of his ægis, and of his spear was to oppose a substance to a shadow; we therefore saw it proper to place the combatants on equal grounds, and with that view, to take the signature of "A Diligent Enquirer." Under these designations the contest continued for some weeks, when by way of bringing this tedious dispute to an issue, the Attentive Hearer was challenged by his opponent to an exchange of authorities, which being accepted, this exchange took place, and the result of the inquiries to which it has given rise, we now submit to the public.

The names of the persons produced by a Diligent Enquirer in confirmation of his assertions amount to seven in number, consisting of the Gentleman who officiated as Under-Sheriff, the Governor of York Castle, the Reverend Gentleman who attended the prisoners in their last moments, and two Sheriff’s Officers, who all stood upon the platform, one of them at a distance of more than three or four yards from Mellor, and some of them at his elbow; in addition to these five authorities, the Diligent Enquirer also verified his assertions by the names of two persons who stood in the place usually occupied by spectators, and all of whom had declared to him, that to the best of their knowledge and belief, the words in question were not used, and to these he might have added the names of a number of other persons, the principal part of whom stood upon the platform; but he selected these as evidences of the most unexceptionable kind, and as amply sufficient to satisfy any man open to conviction.

The authorities produced by an Attentive Hearer amounted to five in number, only one of whom stood on the platform, and such of the others as were present, at a distance of 40 or 50 yards.

The first of these, he that stood upon the platform, says, that he did hear Mellor use the words, "us poor Murderers," but he heard no such words as "not die Game." The second and third make the same declaration. The fourth says, that he thinks he heard the word murderers used in a confessional sense, but he cannot be quite certain, as he stood at so great a distance, that he could only hear a sentence now and then; but as to the words "not die game" he heard no such expression. The fifth and last of an Attentive Hearer's authorities is a Reverend Gentleman at York, and he says, that he was he was never present at an execution in his life, and consequently that he was not present at the execution of Mellor, nor did he ever say that the account given by an Attentive Hearer "was correct."

Such are the authorities by which the assertions of the contending parties are supported, and on a comparison of this evidence, we think no man that will exercise his understanding can fail to arrive at a just conclusion. We have no more doubt that the persons who say Mellor used words amounting to a confession so understood him, than we have that Mellor and his fellow-sufferers were guilty of the crime for which they were executed, but do believe they were murderers, and this belief we ground on the testimony of those whose stations the place of execution gave them an opportunity of hearing distinct every word that fell from the lips of the culprits, and whose official duties required that they should be particularly watchful over the expressions of men dying under such circumstances, and none of whom, it is universally allowed, had up to the moment they came to the fatal tree, made any confession of their guilt, express or implied.

On the other terms are remarkable and so improbable—we mean the expression "not die game," an Attentive Hearer is in effect contradicted by all his own authorities, excepting only that which was not present. Here at least he must admit that he is in error, for not to make that admission would be to impeach the testimony of his own evidence; and this circumstance will, we hope, be useful to him in future life, by inculcating the necessity of being less confident in his own opinions, and more disposed to defer to the opinions of others.

Monday 11 March 2013

11th March 1813: The Luddite convict, John Lumb, is killed in an accident at Portsmouth

The 7 prisoners convicted and sentenced to transportation at the York Special Commission had left York for the Prison Hulk HMS Portland, moored at Langstone Harbour, Portsmouth on Monday 1st February 1813. But within 6 weeks, one of them was already dead.

John Lumb had cheated the hangman by being reprieved of his death sentence, the reprieve meaning he faced transportation to the colonies for life. But on Thursday 11th March 1813, in what we can only imagine was some kind of accident, he was 'killed by a cart running over him' according to the Prison Hulk register. No other details are available.

Friday 8 March 2013

8th March 1813: The Leeds Intelligencer promotes a newly-published account of the York Special Commission

As per the directions of the Treasury Solicitor, Henry Hobhouse, an account of the York Special Commission had been hurriedly published, and the Leeds Intelligencer of Monday 8th March carried an excerpt. This is noteworthy, not least as it shows how a State-backed ideological reworking of events had already begun, less than 2 months after the conclusion of the trials in the West Riding:
Trial of the Luddites.—An authentic report has just been published of the proceedings under authority of the late Special Commission for the trial of the crimes committed in the West Riding of Yorkshire. To this interesting publication some preliminary remarks are offered, which, after giving a concise account of the circumstances and causes which led to a crisis little short of open rebellion, conclude as follow:—

"The cases exhibit a melancholy portrait of the depravity of human nature. We see young men, capable of gaining an ample livelihood by honest industry, led to the commission of the most heinous crimes, without any adequate, it may almost be said, without any motive. They fancy themselves aggrieved by the improvement of machinery. They take to redress into their own hands. To secure their object, they form societies, linked together by illegal oath of secrecy. They thus fancy that they have secured to themselves impunity, and they proceed to the perpetration of the most horrible outrages on the property and persons of individuals, against whom they are actuated by no personal malice: and do not even stop short of shedding the innocent blood of men, who have given no other cause of offence, than by firmly pursuing their lawful callings, not only in a harmless manner, but in that best calculated to promote the interests of the community.

"We see, in several instances, that the disaffected had experienced such success, as to make them speculate on oversetting even the Government of the kingdom; and it is to be feared, that the embers of revolutionary principles, which had been mouldering for several years, were revived in the country where the scenes were acted, by the fancied grievance of improved machinery, and the temporary success which its destroyers met with in the vicinity of Nottingham. Encouragement was given by the doubts cast on the moral turpitude of these crimes; and the evil was raised to its height by religious fanaticism, which unhappily exists, in an excessive degree, in those populous districts.

"The supposed grievance of which these deluded men complain, arising for the improvement of machinery, has been denominated a fancied grievance. It would be wasting time to argue upon the undoubted right of every subject of this kingdom to conduct his trade in such manner as he may deem most conducive to his own interests, unless where the wisdom of Parliament has controlled him by regulations. But the events of the last year prove that it may not be altogether superfluous to shew how it is that the improvement of machinery is beneficial, instead of being detrimental, to the interest of the labouring manufacturer, as well as to the community at large. It is obvious, that the demand for any commodity increases with its cheapness, and that the purchaser will resort to the market at which it is sold at the lowest rate; and therefore, that every thing which contributes to the cheapness increases the demand, and gives an advantage to the market where such cheapness exists, over all other markets where, from local causes, the commodity cannot be sold at so low a price. Where the demand increases, the number of hands employed will increase also. But nothing has been ever found to contribute so much to the cheapness of a manufactured article, as the use of machinery, which enables the same work to be done, not only in less time and with fewer hands, but by persons of earlier age and of less robust constitutions, than can render themselves useful while all the operations are to be performed by bodily strength. Hence all the members of a family are now enabled to contribute towards its support, instead of relying (as formerly was the case) altogether upon the exertions of the husband and father, who still has many parts of the manufacture to which he may apply his vigour, and earn ample wages. What then would be the consequence, if the endeavours of the disaffected could succeed in the expulsion of machinery? The wife and young children would be thrown out of employ; the husband and the father must support them entirely by his own labour; the price of the manufactured goods would be raised; the purchaser would resort to a cheaper market, where the use of machinery was encouraged; the trade would decay; the manufacturer would gradually dismiss his journeyman, or reduce their wages; while their families would become more and more burdensome; and finally, nothing but poverty and misery would prevail.

"A notion has been entertained by some, that the disturbances have been in a great degree ascribable to poverty and distress, arising from the want of foreign markets for our manufactures. It has been already stated, that at a few towns, in the spring of last year, there were some riots arising from the high price of provisions; but in the neighbourhood of Huddersfield, which was a metropolis of discontent, not the least symptom is to be discovered of Luddism having arisen from these causes. On the contrary, many of the prisoners tried at York rested their defence on stories, which depended for their credibility on the fact, that work was super-abundant."

Thursday 7 March 2013

7th March 1813: General Acland writes one of his final letters to General Maitland from Wakefield

Wakefield 7th March 1813.

My dear Sir.

The Reports receiv’d this day are most satisfactory I copy Raynes’s as the most intelligent, & confirming what I wrote to you about the arms on the 1st Inst.

This part of the country remains perfectly tranquil, I have not heard of the least disorder or outrage of any description.

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 Clifton &c were thrown into 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 —

Brigade Major Bullen return’d this day from a visit to Colonel Fletcher at Bolton — both Col. F. & Mr. Hulton state that part of the Country to be perfectly quiet — the Colonel says no persons have been to him to take the oath of Allegiance, but several from the neighbourhood of Chowbent, Worsley & Bolton have been to the other Magistrates & some few to Dr. Drake at Rochdale—

Mr. Ratcliffe set out on his Tour the beginning of next month, he is quite comfortable without his Guard & tells Bullen he is satisfied it will be a good measure to remove the Troops.

I really think we may do so with perfect safety & prudence, if you meet your approbation—& the sooner the Horse Artillery move to [illegible] & the Suffolk gets a Route the better the more if it is done by the [degrees] the less it will be thought of & every one I talk with is of this opinion.

I am very anxious to hear from you as to my disposal, I wish to be in Town after General Grey comes back, & if it can be so arranged that I do not return, it will not only be gratifying but convenient—as long as any thing was to be done & you remain’d I was perfectly content, but now every thing is quiet, I shall be glad to get nearer to my friends, for with a limited income this campaign has been expensive, which however I never regard as long as I can be [useful] & I repeat I can only be so at home as my health is not equal to active Service abroad.

Wroth: P Acland

[To] Lt General
The Rt Honble
T. Maitland

Wednesday 6 March 2013

6th March 1813: The Reverend Becher pleads on behalf of absconded Luddites

Southwell March 6

My Lord Duke

I have the honor of stating to your Grace, that several Inhabitants of your county, knowing that some of them were advertised in the Hue & Cry & that others had been charged before the Magistrates with the offense of Frame Breaking, did abscond previously to the Lent Assize in the year 1812; and have since remained in concealment.

Many of these Men, as I have been informed, are desirous of returning to their occupations & their abodes; but I prevented by the tenor of his Majestys late pardon which does not extend to persons charged with offences. – I therefore beg leave to submit their case for the consideration of your Grace; since Magistrates are not competent to prescribe conditions without the sanction of some higher authority than their own.

I have [etc]
J. T. Becher

His Grace
the Duke of Newcastle
&c. &c. &c.

6th March 1813: Thomas Shillitoe visit Joseph Radcliffe and also the families of Joseph Fisher & John Swallow

On Saturday 6th March 1813, Thomas Shillitoe concluded his visits with Joseph Wood, to the families of executed Luddites, first calling upon the magistrate, Joseph Radcliffe:
The magistrate and his wife received us very courteously, with whom we had a free, open conversation of near an hour and a half. I gave him, as far as memory furnished me therewith, some account of our proceedings in the visits, and the state of mind we found the poor widows, and those we met with, who had been liberated on bail: on assuring him we heard nothing from any we had thus visited, in the least degree reflecting on him, or any one who had taken a part in apprehending the sufferers, he appeared to receive it as satisfactory information. I then laid before him the suffering situation of the widow Hill, against whose son his warrant was issued; detailing the good character the young man uniformly bore, in the neighbourhood where he had resided before his escape; and that it was the first, and only night, he had been out with the rioters, and then, more by constraint than inclination. Our remarks exciting in his mind feelings of tenderness towards the young man, we requested him to consider his case, and the case of his mother, and to afford them all the relief in his power; to which he replied, the young man must come before me and surrender himself up, at the same time giving us authority to inform his mother, if he thus proceeded, he should not remain in custody, but have his liberty to return home, and not be disturbed, so long as he continued to conduct himself in a quiet, orderly manner. His mother being informed to this effect, the young man surrendered himself, and was liberated: since that time he has married, and is comfortably settled in life; and, from good authority, we understand he continues an exemplary religious character. I felt truly thankful this point was thus so far gained; but there was another, which, to me, appeared of equal importance, which I also laid before the magistrate, which was the deplorable situation of the widows and children; there appearing no other prospect but that they must, by degrees, sell their household furniture to procure subsistence, they informing us, none would employ them; some refusing through prejudice, and some through fear of being suspected to countenance the proceedings of their husbands; whereby the parish workhouse must soon be their only resource, if no speedy remedy was applied. This, from the view I had of the subject, was to be dreaded; the children, from the company they would associate with, being likely, on every slight offence, to have reflections cast upon them, on account of the conduct, and disgraceful end of their father: thus held in contempt, the danger was, the minds of the children would, by degrees, become hardened, and they, thereby become unfitted for usefulness in society. After thus expressing my views, and my desire that some mode should be adopted to educate, and provide for the children, until they attained to an age fit for servants and apprentices, and to aid the earnings of the widows whilst they remained single, and proposing for his consideration a plan for these purposes, which had suggested itself to my mind almost daily of late, I felt discharged from these subjects, which had pressed heavily upon me. At our parting, he took us by the hand, and, in a very kind manner, bade us farewell.

We proceeded to Berrisfield, where the widow of Joseph Fisher, and other families of the sufferers, lived: they, having no regular place of settlement, were collected into one cottage. The opportunity with them was a favoured one, leading us to hope, the labour would not all prove in vain. The state of mind of a woman whose husband was transported, called for much sympathy; she viewed her own case to be a more trying one than that of the poor widows, who, she said, had seen the end of their husbands' sufferings in this life. The scene of distress this opportunity presented to our feelings, is not to be described. We then went to Halland-moor; sat with a widow and six children of John Swallow, who suffered for robbery: her mother, brother, and a sister of the sufferer's sat with us. Words would fall short to attempt to describe the state of distress her mind appeared to be in. We had largely to hand out to her encouragement to look for support where alone it was to be found, and where, we had reason to hope, her poor mind was favoured at times to know a centering: she received our visit with expressions of gratitude, and with it our services of this nature closed.

Tuesday 5 March 2013

5th March 1813: Thomas Shillitoe meets the Luddite turned informer, Benjamin Walker

On Friday 5th March 1813, the Quaker missionary, Thomas Shillitoe, met with the former Luddite turned informer, Benjamin Walker. His journal recorded what happened:
Fifth-day, agreeable to our request, Benjamin [Walker] met us. On his entering the room, he appeared to us raw and ignorant; with such apparent self-condemnation in his countenance, we thought we had not before witnessed; as if he felt himself an outcast, and thought a mark of infamy was set upon him; newly-clad, as we supposed, from the money he had recently received, as the reward of his having discovered his accomplices in the murder, for which they had suffered. We could not but anticipate the deplorable situation he would find himself in, when the means of keeping up his spirits were all exhausted. On taking his seat, his mind appeared much agitated, and, during the opportunity, he was unable to sit with ease to himself on his seat. After a time spent with him in quiet, a door of utterance opened, whereby we were enabled faithfully to relieve our minds towards him, although he did not manifest any thing like a disposition to resent what we offered to him; but little, if any, appearance of tenderness was manifested. The opportunity to us was the most distressing we had experienced; feeling, as we were enabled to do, deeply on his account, lest his mind was getting into quite a hardened state, and that his case would become a hopeless one; yet not without some reason for believing, that in the opportunity we had with him, things had been so closely brought home to him, that he would not soon be able wholly to cast them away again. When he went away, those who were in the room through which he passed, observed to us, his countenance was pale and ghastly, and his joints, as it were, so unloosened, as if they were scarcely able to support his body. We advised him not to go into company, but to return directly home, which, we afterwards heard, he attended to. The feelings of suffering we were introduced into on his account, will not, I believe, soon be forgotten.

Monday 4 March 2013

4th March 1813: Thomas Shillitoe meets Joshua Schofield again, & tries to visit Benjamin Walker

On Thursday 4th March 1813, the Quaker missionary, Thomas Shillitoe, had discontinued his visits for one day, but met with a former Luddite, and attempted to meet another:
Fifth-day, the week-day meeting being discontinued, and feeling drawings in our minds to sit with the few Friends of Halifax, a meeting was concluded to be held this morning, at which, in addition to Friends, we had the company of several not professing with our religious Society; amongst whom was Joshua Schofield, the young man before-mentioned, whose mind was again so reached during what was communicated, that he trembled so much that he could not hide his state from the meeting, although it was evident he endeavoured for it. He afterwards settled in the neighbourhood of a meeting of Friends, became a steady young man, manifesting attachment to our principles, and regularly attended our meetings. In the afternoon we went to Longwood, with a view of visiting Benjamin Walker . He was a single young man, living with his parents; an accomplice with the other two in the murder of the master-manufacturer; and received the reward offered for apprehending the offenders, having his life saved by turning king's evidence. He being from home, we requested he would give us his company next morning, at Joseph Mallinson's, Longroyd-bridge.

Sunday 3 March 2013

3rd March 1813: Thomas Shillitoe visits the families of Joseph Crowther, William Hartley, John Hill & Job Hey

On Wednesday 3rd March 1813, the Quaker missionary Thomas Shillitoe continued with his visits to the families of executed Luddites, accompanied by Joseph Wood:
Fourth-day we went to Sowerby-bridge. Our first visit was to the widow of Joseph [Crowther], who suffered for robbery: he had left three children, and his widow nearly being confined with her fourth. We were enabled to labour with her, to persevere in an endeavour after a steady reliance for help on that Divine power, which alone would be found all-sufficient to support her mind in her future tossings and temptations: we were ready to hope the opportunity with her would be remembered at a future day, to her comfort. We next proceeded to the cottage of the parents of William Hartley, who suffered for robbery: with them resided his eight children, bereft of both parents, the mother having been deceased about three weeks. The neighbours observing us go into their cottage, followed us, quietly taking their seats: the opportunity proved to many, especially some of the children, a heart-tendering season—one, I believe, that will long be remembered by some present.

Our next visit was to North-dean, in Elland township, to the widow of John Hill, who left one infant—he suffered for robbery. His widow presented us with an interesting letter, received from him the day before his execution, manifesting the peaceful state of mind he had been favoured to attain to, under the evidence of his having been enabled to forgive all mankind, and himself experiencing Divine forgiveness for all his sins. She informed us, the night he was taken, he was forced out of his bed by the Gang; that she ran after him half-a-mile without any of her upper garments upon her, until they obliged her to return, threatening to blow her brains out if she followed them. We sat with the widow, the sufferer's mother, aunt, &c.: it proved a solid opportunity. A brother of the sufferer was also by the same means implicated in these riotous proceedings that night; his neighbours say, not from inclination, but overcome by threats, he being always considered a religiously-disposed young man, and was much esteemed; but he escaped being taken with the rest. His mother was maintained by the produce of a small farm, and he was her sole dependence in the management of it. The loss of the other son, by such an untimely end, with the continued fearful apprehensions she laboured under, of her other son being taken—there being a warrant out against, and search making for him, appeared almost to drive her to despair. We endeavoured to console her all in our power. Before we left her, I felt it laid upon me to assure her, on account of the general good character we had received of the young man, and the manner of his being led away, we would lay his case before the magistrate who granted the warrant, and use our influence to obtain permission for him to return home with safety.

Our next visit was to the widow of [Job] Hey, and her seven fatherless children: we found her in a state of mind bordering on despair. As ability was afforded, we endeavoured to turn her mind to seek after that quietude and submission to the dispensation permitted to be her lot, in which God is to be known, and his power experienced, to stay, comfort, console her, and which would carry her through the accumulated afflictions she was struggling with; but, after all, her poor mind was so overcharged with the prospect of her great poverty, her numerous fatherless children, without any visible means for their support, we were ready to fear that what we had to offer, obtained but little entrance. Leaving this cottage of woe and misery, we bent our course to Halifax.

Saturday 2 March 2013

2nd March 1813: Arms raid & burglary at Tong, near Middleton, Lancashire

At 8.00 p.m. on Tuesday 2nd March 1813, seven men entered the house of Philip Bury, of Tong, near Middleton in Lancashire. Their heads were covered with napkins, and they were wearing aprons over their regular clothes.

They demanded firearms, and went on seize a gun. Some of the men went through the house looking for items, whilst others kept guard at the door. When Bury tried to follow one upstairs, a pistol was levelled at his head and threats were issued to him. The men identified each other by numbers, so as not to reveal any name or nickname.

After being present in the house for an hour, they made off with a flask of gunpowder (leaving the firearm they had seized behind), some silver spoons, tea-tongs, a 5s 6d silver piece and other money the sum of £26, as well as other items. Threats were made to the family not to follow them or raise the alarm, and they locked the door to the house from the outside using the key. They levelled threats at people in a nearby house as they escaped.

The same night, another house near Middleton was robbed.

2nd March 1813: Thomas Shillitoe visits the families of Thomas Smith, Nathan Hoyle & James Hey, and meet Joshua Schofields

On Tuesday 2nd March 1813, the Quaker missionary, Thomas Shillitoe, continued his visits to the families of the Luddites executed at York, accompanied again by Joseph Wood:
Third-day, accompanied by John King and James Lees, Friends of Brighouse meeting, we proceeded to Sutcliffe-wood-bottom, to sit with the parents of Thomas Smith, his sister, and her husband—he also suffered for rioting. At the time I was engaged in addressing the company, a young man opened the door, came in, and immediately left again; on which I felt a stop against proceeding, and was obliged to request the young man might be sought for to give us his company, which taking place, I was able to proceed. This young man's mind became so wrought upon in the opportunity, that it became evident to all present. After having closed what I had given me for the family, my mouth was again opened with nearly these words:—"It is not in man that walketh to direct his own steps aright, the Lord alone must have the ordering of them, who does at times order our steps, but we know it not; which appears to me to have been the case this day with the young man who came in amongst us;" after which, my companion addressed him in a very feeling manner. After the opportunity was over, he walked with us a short distance: his mind appeared much broken, and under a remarkable visitation. He told my companion, he had been apprehended with the rest of the prisoners, and confined in the castle, but was discharged on bail; that he was twenty-two years of age, and his name was Joshua Schofield; that he knew nothing of our being in the house, nor could tell what brought him there, as he had no business with the family.

In the afternoon we went to Scar-coat-green. Our first visit was to the widow and five children of Nathaniel Hoyle—he suffered for robbery: they lived with her aged father and sister, who sat with us, and who appeared to be under great difficulty themselves, to procure the necessaries of life: their situation to us appeared to be a very pitiable one. We next proceeded to the house of James [Hey], who left a widow, not twenty-one years of age, and two children: the sufferer's parents gave us their company; we were favoured with a comfortable time together. We went into the cottage of the parents; had a satisfactory opportunity with two brothers of the sufferer, and then proceeded to Hand-green: the father of James [Hey] very acceptably gave us his company.

Friday 1 March 2013

1st March 1813: General Acland updates General Maitland on the state of the West Riding

Wakefield 1 March 1813.

My dear Sir.

The Weekly reports on the state of the Country receiv’d yesterday are most satisfactory, & I find from Lt Colonel Lang that Mr. Radcliffe wishes to have his Guard discontinued from this day—

Mr. Scott has administer’d the oath to about one Hundred in the whole — he writes Raynes that he has thoughts of making a further communication to Government & wishes to see him before he does so—

Thirty one have abjur’d &c before Dr. Colthurst at Halifax, but I have not heard if any more have been before Mr Armytage.

The Inhabitants of Elland have presented Lt Cooper with a Gold Snuff box, with an Inscription expressive of their gratitude for his exertions.

I have communicated with Sir Francis Wood & Hay about the Pontefract detachment, they wish it to remove for the present as there is a considerable Store of ammunition &c. They are much obliged by your having consulted them on the subject—

I have ordered the Troop of the Greys to be withdrawn to-morrow from Bradford & Halifax having a Serjt and twelve men at each station.

The Wiltshire Militia is mov’d to Carlisle, to be replaced by the Aberdeen at Liverpool.

I hope soon to hear from you & remain [illegible]

Wroth: P: Acland

Since I finish’d my letter I have heard from good authority that very few of the Arms that have been stolen about Huddersfield remain in possession of the persons that took them away—such as [any] remain have been render’d useless from different causes but the far greater part have been either thrown into the Mill Dam near Sir George Armytages or a hole in the neighbourhood

I am also confirm’d in my opinion about the depredators committed in Mr. Hagues & Horsfal’s plantations, & Mr. Horsfal has I [understand] express’d himself perfectly satisfied it has nothing to do with Luddism &c


[To] Lt General
The Rt Honble
T. Maitland

1st March 1813: Thomas Shillitoe visits the families of Thomas Brook, James Haigh, William Thorpe & John Ogden

On Monday, the Quaker missionary Thomas Shillitoe continued his visits to the families of the Luddites executed at York in January, accompanied by Joseph Wood:
Second-day, we bent our course to Lockwood, sat with the widow and three children of Thomas Brook, who suffered for rioting. We also had the company of his parents and two brothers: his two brothers were in York castle with him, but were discharged. This proved a heart-rending opportunity to us all: being willing, as I humbly hope I may say we were, to sit where the surviving sufferers sat, we were helped to go down into suffering with them, and thereby became qualified, through the renewal of Divine aid, to administer suitably to the need of those we sat with. Our minds were clothed with feelings of compassion for the widow and the deeply-afflicted parents, accompanied with a hope, the opportunity had made such an impression on the minds of the two young men, that it would become of lasting benefit to them. The sufferer, we were informed, had only been out once with the rioters, at which time he lost his hat, which caused his apprehension. At our parting, they endeavoured to make us sensible that our visit had been like a cordial to their minds, and they expressed the thankfulness which they felt for it. We proceeded to Huddersfield; visited the widow of James Haigh—he suffered for rioting—left no children: we found her under deep affliction. She appeared to have a clear view of our motives for taking the steps which we did, expressing, in strong terms, the gratitude she felt for our visit. Our next visit was to the parents and two sisters of [William Thorpe], who was a single man, and who suffered for the murder of the master-manufacturer: we felt deeply for the afflicted parents. Divine regard was mercifully extended in this opportunity, both to visited and visitors: that a grateful sense thereof may continue in each of our minds, was the secret prayer of my soul. It appeared a time of precious visitation to the sisters of the sufferer. In the afternoon we proceeded to Cow-cliff, to visit the widow and two children of John Ogden, who suffered for rioting. We proposed to meet her at her husband's parents, in order to have their company, and that of two of the sufferer's sisters; but we were given to understand, that the parents spurned at the idea of sitting with us. As it did not appear to me we should be warranted in so easily giving up this prospect, and apprehending I felt that in my own mind that would bear me out, in taking the widow and family with us into their cottage, my companion consenting, we did so, and took our seats amongst them. After sitting awhile together in solemn silence, we had to hand forth both caution and encouragement, especially to the poor young widow, and the sufferer's sisters: it proved to all a melting season. The parents were both confined to the house, in consequence of the melancholy event that had occurred respecting their son, and from their appearance, with that of one of their daughters, they were sinking under the weight of their afflictions. The parents, in a very feeling manner, at our parting, expressed thankfulness for our visit, and, I hope I may say, feelings of gratitude clothed my mind. The wedding of a sister of the sufferer's being kept at the adjoining cottage, apprehending it would be safest for us to make them a visit, we accordingly did so, but the men were all absent: pausing, and feeling something stirring in my mind towards the bride and her female friends, I gave way to it; the labour bestowed soon put aside all their light behaviour, which our presence at first excited; and, at our parting, novel as our visit was to them, it appeared to be kindly received. May glory abound to His praise, who is God over all, blessed for ever, and for evermore.

1st March 1813: 'An Attentive Hearer' won't let the debate about George Mellor's last words die

Mr. PRINTER—A Diligent Enquirer seems to be rather hurt that I have not allowed myself to be publicly accused, without endeavouring publicly to defend myself; he thinks I ought to have been silenced long since; he will, however, recollect I am not answerable to the Public for the length of this dispute.

In the first instance I stated what passed at the Execution, as nearly as I could remember, which has weekly been disputed by either one or another.—Mr. Brown came forward and positively contradicted my assertion. I believe a Diligent Enquirer and an Attentive Hearer and not the only persons who are willing to waive his authority.—And now, we will consider the matter as resting on the authority of two anonymous writers, one of whom was present at the Execution, and the other some miles distant. Certainly persons unknown to the public have no right to expect credit, unless there assertions can be proved, either by positive or corroborative proof;—but there is a difference even in the character of an anonymous writer. When any one is fairly proved to have published an untruth, we have a right at least to suspect him; if a Diligent Enquirer will take the trouble to refer to my last letter, he will find a blemish on his character, of which he has not even attempted to clear himself. As an anonymous writer, I think I have a [fairer] claim to public credence than my opponent; he has a length, however, come forwards like a gentleman, without either wagers or abuse, and is consequently entitled to my attention.

I am not at liberty to publish names, but if he will be at the trouble of enquiring of my Printer; he will be informed of several Gentleman, whose characters he cannot dispute, to whom I would refer him; and I hope he will not think it too much trouble, candidly to inform the public the results of his further enquiries; this I think I have a right to expect from him.