Monday, 29 April 2013

29th April 1813: Robbery of Joseph Harding at Henbury, near Macclesfield

Joseph Harding was a shopkeeper at Henbury, near Macclesfield. On Wednesday 28th April 1813, he had gone to bed early at 9.00 p.m. He awoke at 2.00 a.m. to find two men standing over him - both had blackened faces and pointed pistols at him, warning him that they would shoot if he stirred or made a sound. Other men downstairs were going through the house for valuables. This continued for some time, but Harding was at some point left unguarded, and used the opportunity to climb through a window and make an escape.

He ran to his neighbours and raised the alarm. Four of them - Peter Gaskell, a farmer, Thomas Atkinson, a labourer, John Ellam, a bricklayer and John Oldham, another bricklayer - accompanied Harding back to his house, to find that the burglars had left. The group of five then set off to try to track the robbers down, using footsteps left in the early morning dew. By 6.00 a.m., at Butley Ash, five miles from Henbury, they came across three men in the turnpike road: Joseph Wood, a hay-dealer, Isaac Woodford, another hay-dealer and Isaac Woodhall a joiner. Woodhall said he had seen two men sitting under a hedge in a field, with a bundle.

The group went to the spot and confronted the two men - the men responded by pulling out pistols, which misfired. A struggle ensued and the two men were overpowered by the group. One of the group went to fetch a Constable from Butley Ash and the prisoners were then conducted to the home of a magistrate, Mr Downes of Shrigley. Downes decided to commit the two men - James Renshaw, a weaver from Meg Lane, Sutton, and Simeon Beeston, another weaver, from Ringway - to Chester Castle to stand trial at the next Assizes.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

28th April 1813: Tenter belonging to an employer of Benjamin Walker destroyed at Milnsbridge

Around this date, a Tenter belonging to an employer of the former Luddite turned informer, Benjamin Walker, was destroyed at Milnsbridge.

Friday, 26 April 2013

26th April 1813: The Leeds Intelligencer publishes a last word on 'Attentive Hearer' row

On Monday 26th April 1813, the Leeds Intelligencer published a final editorial on the row that had taken up column inches over the past 3 months, ever since the execution of George Mellor. The Leeds Mercury never published a response, and the pseudonymous 'Attentive Hearer' never wrote to the Intelligencer again.
If the "Printer" will be at the trouble to read the "Attentive Hearer's" last letter, he will perceive that his last week’s challenge, is by no means declined. The Attentive Hearer is most willing to go into the proposed investigation when it is rendered necessary;  i.e. so soon as the Printer shall prove what he has twice asserted: "that the "Attentive Hearer" has published a false report of evidence."—If the report he has published be correct, there can be no doubt of the confession of Mellor. If false, let it be proved so; and the "Attentive Hearer" will, with the greatest readiness, immediately accept the Challenge of his Opponent.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

24th April 1813: The Leeds Mercury publishes a final editorial on the row with 'An Attentive Hearer'

An Attentive Hearer has declined the challenge we last week gave him to close the dispute, by submitting the evidence on both sides, fairly and candidly collected by impartial persons, without note or comment, to the tribunal of public opinion. The inference is irresistible. He was conscious that such an appeal would admit of no sophistry or false colouring, and that the preponderance of evidence against him would have been overwhelming. But we shall indulge in no exultation, much less repeat the coarse and virulent language that disgraces his last letter; it is the language of an irritated mind writhing under the pangs of defeat. We have no such feeling to gratify; Truth alone was our object, and having secured its triumph, to the satisfaction of every impartial mind, we quit the ungracious subject for ever.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

20th April 1813: Cases of machine-breaking & compensation at the Chester Lent Assizes

The Chester Lent Assizes of 1813 saw some residual matters from the outbreaks of Luddism of 12 months previously come before it.

Two men from Newton, near Hyde, were before the Court for breaking machinery: John Cooper, a 23 year-old collier was charged with destroying a blowing machine belonging to Messrs Sidebottom at Mottram-in-Longdendale, and John Smith Rigby a 22 year-old hatter, the latter charged with breaking the only shearing-frames outside of West Yorkshire at Tintwistle 12 months earlier. Their prospects were not good, not least because 3 of the manufacturers targetted in the attacks had urged the Home Secretary to bring the matters to court. However, they were acquitted & discharged by proclamation, although they both had to enter into a recognizance for £40 to appear before the court if called upon.

In addition, the Manufacturers affected by the disturbances successfully brought cases for compensation against the relevant local authorities, and the outcome was as follows (the defendants names are the Constables for the relevant parishes in the hundred of Macclesfield):

Sidebottom v Garside - £220. 9s.
Turner v Cartwright - £27. 10s.
Rhodes v Garside - £80.
Thornley v Garside - £50.
Sidebotham v Garside - £45.
Wood v Garside - £58.
Wood v Vaux - £80. 8s. 8d.
S. Malkin v Vaux - £31. 8s. 5½d.
W. Malkin v Vaux - £7. 16s. 2½d.
Mason v Cartwright - £31. 16s.
Allen v Cartwright - £5. 12s. 6d.
Jacob v Cartwright - £1030.
Clegg v Cartwright - £29.
Goodier v Cartwright - £437
Holland v Vaux - £21. 15s. 1d.
Radcliffe v Cartwright - £70.
Hindley v Cartwright - £56. 6d.
Rowland v Cartwright - £5
Orme v Vaux - £21. 5s. 1d.

Friday, 19 April 2013

19th April 1813: 'An Attentive Hearer' sends his final letter to the Leeds Intelligencer

Mr. PRINTER,—The evidence given by the "Diligent Enquirer’s" Authorities, is already verbatim before the public; I hold a letter from one of them, written after an interview with the Diligent Enquirer, speaking as to his knowledge in terms which were not so decisive as I wished. I wanted to have no ambiguity; if the parties were positive, I wished them to say so, if not, they would allow it; this they all did, not one was certain! The person who wrote the letter above alluded to, signed the paragraph stating he was not positive.

The printer has charged me with falsifying the evidence of his authorities, and not giving their own words. I deny the charge; the evidence I have published is true, the very words of his own witnesses; I can at any time prove this. Let the "Printer" prove his assertion, and I will willingly fall in with his proposition this week; of submitting the whole to two impartial persons. There is no need to do this, until my antagonist has proved his point; if I have already stated the case correctly; why trouble any other person to re-publish it?

He says nothing about himself having falsified the evidence of both mine and his authorities; I before charged with this! I repeat it!

Until he proves his assertion; or acknowledges that he has falsely charged me with an untruth; I shall take no notice of his weekly ebullitions, but leave him to that infamy, his repeated falsehoods deserve.

Leeds, April 17, 1813.

19th April 1813: Hammond Roberson writes in praise of William Cartwright & Joseph Radcliffe

To the Printer of the Leeds Intelligencer.

SIR,—I beg the favour of you to permit your paper to the medium of a few observations on a subject in which, if I mistake not, the credit and the justice of this neighbourhood is considerably interested.

We cannot, I presume, have forgotten the state of the public mind, and the transactions which occurred during the spring months of the last year. We recollect the serious apprehensions which filled the minds of one part of the inhabitants; the disgraceful panic which seized others; the suspense in which a third sort were held, unable to form a judgment whether the disturbers of the public peace, or their opposers would prove to have taken the stronger side, and therefore afraid to commit themselves by venturing to express an opinion concerning transactions, which, by their novelty, their boldness, their ferocity, and general mischievous tendency, were becoming truly serious and alarming;—while, a lamentable proportion of the population of a great many of our towns and villages were in high and ardent expectation of some great change which they (foolishly enough, no doubt, but, which they) actually did imagine was about to take place in the persons should hold the power and property of the country.

At this time the idea of removing by violence such individuals as might seem likely to oppose any effectual obstacle to the system of destruction then in practice, was become perfectly familiar; the most atrocious acts were openly committed; murderous conversation was openly and undisguisedly held in workshops, at the market, in the public streets, and in public houses; while, whatever was offered in disapprobation of the then popular sentiments, and of the destructive practices, was generally spoken in retirement, under all the apparent emotions of apprehension, suspicion, and terror. There was an evident fear left what was said should be overheard and resented by the mischievous destruction of property of the speaker, or by his immediate assassination. Those who are first affected to scorn the expressions of alarm were themselves brought to dismay. Those who ignorantly imagined the business concerned such persons only as were connected with gig-mills and shearing-frames, were made to tremble for the safety of their own property and persons. The merchant, the farmer, the miller, the cottager, were alike assailed, terrified, plundered. The very atmosphere which surrounds us seemed contaminated, and the English character assumed for a season, the dark and baleful aspect of the malicious, relentless assassin.

A favourable change has taken place. The good sense of many of those who were incautiously led off to indulge unjustifiable wishes and expectations, is apparently returned; the momentary warmth of a perverted imagination has subsided, and given place to reflection, and a more just way of thinking. The silent and flow, but efficacious operation of our incomparable system of Laws, executed in that firm, manly, DISCRIMINATING CHRISTIAN spirit, so highly characteristic of our courts of justice, has had a powerful effect upon the public mind. The nature, the tendency, the absurdity, the madness of disorderly practices is more clearly discerned; the well-disposed are confirmed; the thoughtless are brought to some reflection; the guilty, we ardently hope, feel remorse; the vicious and abandoned have taken lessons of caution, and, it is reasonably to be expected, that the salutary pause that has been imposed upon them by the well grounded terror of the magistrate’s awful arm, will be succeeded by some general repentance and reformation of conduct, and of principle.

The extent to which the mischievous combination might have been carried is not to be ascertained. The nature and tendency of it, is pretty well known.

A full year has now passed over us. We have had time for reflection. And it remains for us to determine whether we will suffer the intelligent faithful historian of the times to enter the following record for the information of posterity:

That one of the most villainous, of the MOST DESPERATE; and, for its extent, one of the MOST ALARMING CONSPIRACIES AGAINST the Security of the persons and property of civil society, that ever disgraced a country professing Christianity, was checked and disconcerted by the manly firmness of ONE MAN, at great labour, and at great personal hazard to himself, as well as at great expence:—and, the detection and conviction of the parties to this nefarious scene, was, in a great measure, "owing to the unremitting zeal and persevering courage of ONE MAGISTRATE residing near the town of Huddersfield:" but, such was the cool indifference betrayed by the inhabitants of the neighbourhood more immediately benefited by the judicious intrepidity of these two men, that, finding themselves delivered from their present apprehensions, they were content to refer the remuneration of the expences incurred by the meritorious defence of Rawfolds Mill, to the bounty of Government; to the PRIVATE liberality of individuals; to an "HUMBLE PETITION" to the Quarter Sessions; to chance:—and the worthy Magistrate of Mills-Bridge House was allowed to enjoy the satisfaction arising to an independent mind like his, from his private reflections on his own conduct; or,—whether we will do ourselves the credit, and our country the service, to offer our united public thanks to Mr. Radcliffe for the benefit he has conferred upon society, by his prompt, decisive, and judicious conduct; and testify our approbation of William Cartwright's behaviour, in defence of his person and property, and our sense of the advantages derived to society thereby by an instant public subscription expressly designed as a kind of vote of thanks, and to be offered to him independent of any notice or reward which the wisdom of Government may judge proper to confer upon him.

A Thousand Guineas subscribed by that number of persons, and their names published, would be of greater importance to the public; and of more credit to the subscribers than any additional honour or advantage to the person for whom that sum ought to be so raised.

Healds Hall, April 15, 1813.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

17th April 1813: The Leeds Mercury issues another challenge to "An Attentive Hearer"

An “Attentive Hearer" is at his usual work again. He has not, as was required of him, published the words of the person referred to, but he has published expressions foisted into their mouths by others. He had, we know, the testimony of one or more of our witnesses written and signed by themselves, in which it is positively declared that Mellor did not use either of the expressions imputed to him; but this he has suppressed, and substituted in its stead declarations, artfully framed, that they did not write, and that some of them, very prudently, refused to sign! This is what every man of plain dealing, will call a falsification of evidence. He has not, he says, applied to two of the persons we referred him to, because they are parties! What party could the Clergyman who attended the criminals to their last moments be in this dispute? or what possible interest or motive could he have for publicly and positively contradicting an Attentive Hearer, except a wish to prevent the public being imposed upon by fabricated dying speeches? This was, no doubt, the motive that actuated his conduct, and no men of common sense, or of common candour, will attribute to him any other. But the subterfuges of this Attentive Hearer are endless, and if there be a single individual in the county who can still retain a doubt on the subject, we see only one way left to remove such doubt, and to relieve the public from the further annoyance of this uninteresting dispute.

The mode of affecting so desirable a purpose is this:—He shall give up his authorities, and we will give up ours, to two perfectly impartial persons, and they shall, without any leading questions, but in a fair and honourable manner, obtain the testimony of the parties; that testimony, pro and con, with the places the witnesses occupied at the time of the execution, and the official situations they held, if any, shall be published in both the Leeds papers, without "note or comment;" the public will then be able to form an unbiased judgment, and there the matter shall rest. If he accepts this proposal, it will, we are persuaded, appear as we at first stated, that as to one of the expressions an Attentive Hearer was mistaken; and that from a similarity of terms, a few, and only a very few, other spectators, principally standing at a distance of 50 or 60 yards, fell into the same error. But as to the other expression it will be manifest, even on the shewing of his own witnesses, that it is a mere invention. This will appear if he ventures in the way we now propose fairly and finally to commit the point at issue to the decision of the public; but should he shrink from this unexceptionable test, the inference will be obvious, and we shall then feel ourselves absolved from taking any further notice of effusions that affect so much, and exhibit so little of the Gentleman.

On this subject, we last week received a Letter from a Gentleman at York, who was present at the execution, and who heard, distinctly, every word that was uttered, in which the writer says:—"Pray, Sir, who is the Attentive Hearer that has so long insulted the ears of the West-riding with his notorious falsehoods? He is ashamed to sign his name, and well he may; I am astonished at his impudence."

Monday, 15 April 2013

15th April 1813: South Wales magistrates express concern that illegal oaths are being sworn amongst ironworkers

My Lord

From the great Depression of the Iron Trade throughout the Kingdom & the manifest loss which the Ironmasters have had & are now sustaining; has Induced those Concernd in the Trade in the Counties of Glamorgan, Monmouth &c. to give notice to their Workmen that they Intend to make a trifling reduction in their wages which it seems have hitherto been higher than in other parts of the Kingdom — Upon this being made known to the men, they have shewn that Spirit of Resistance, by private meetings Swearing or as they term it Twisting in by Anonimous Letters. & in short have been taking the same steps which so much disgraced the workmen in the Northern Counties — We the Undersigned are a magistrate for the County of Glamorgan & Two for the County of Monmouth do Strongly recommend to Government as a matter Precaution to Station a Troop of Horse at Abergavenny & another at Brecknock before the 24th Instant to take the earliest advantage to Suppress any Riots which may occur & we are Apprehensive will happen

We Conceive it would be Prudent not to Inform any one except the Commanding officers for what purpose the Two Troops are sent to Abergavenny & Brecon as it would Cause an Immediate alarm thro’ all the Country

Knowing the Anxious wish which Government always Entertain for the Peace of the Country – we humbly submit that our Representation in this Subject will meet with Attention & we particularly request your Lordships Answer as Early as possible directed to Wm Forman Esqr Merthyr near Cardiff & beg that we may be favord with the name of the Officer each Troop to whom Application must be made in case of Emergency

We have [etc]

William Foreman (Glamorganshire)
Richd Fothergill
Mattw Monkhouse (Monmouthshire)

Merthyr Tidvil
15 Apl 1813—

Sunday, 14 April 2013

14th April 1813: A West Riding magistrate sends earl Fitzwilliam the confession of an absconded Luddite

Halifax 1813 April 14th

My Lord,

I did myself the Honor of writing to your Lordship a week ago, inclosing a full Description of the Forty one who had taken the Oath of Allegiance before me. I now write to you concerning Samuel Hill, an unfortunate Luddite, who yesterday confess’d before me, & took the oath. He is Brother to John Hill executed at York under the Authority of the late Special Commission — & whose Crimes were Burglary, & Stealing of Arms. You will naturally enquire, why have I taken his Oath & Confession as late in the Day. I answer, I was prevailed upon to do so by the strong Recommendation of Mr Dyson a very respectable Gentleman in my Parish. I told Mr D. that I could do nothing at all for the Man, but that I would lay the Case before your Lordship. The subject has occasion’d much Conversation between Mr D & me. The Substance of it, is contained in the enclosed Letter which he wrote to me. I also inclose the original Confession — On perusing it, along with Mr D's Letter, you will act as you think proper. The Cause of the delaying to take the Oath is explained in his Confession.

I have ventured to say thus far – that if your Lordship cou’d be assured of the Man's future good Behaviour, you might not be unwilling to interpose in his behalf. I strongly inculcated upon him the absolute Necessity of good & peaceable Conduct, for that his life was now at Stake. If I shou’d be honored with your Lordship's Answer in any Degree favorable to the poor Man's earnest Intreaties, he wou’d thereby be relieved from great Anxiety — Mr Dyson, if I may so say, will be his Surety.

Mr D. is a Gentleman living upon his Fortune, & has long been a Captain in our Halifax Militia – the Grenadiers.

I have [etc]
Hylom Coulthurst

[To] Rt. Honble Earl Fitzwilliam.

Samuel Hill of Northdean in Elland Farmer and Cotton Spinner was guilty of stealing Arms at Copley Gate in Skircoat in Company with Job Hey, John Hill, and Hartley all of whom were executed for that Offence. He the said Samuel Hill was also guilty of an attack upon Mr. Waterhouses Mill last winter in company with Job Hey, and others who compelled him by Terror to join them having threatened to shoot him, if he did not go with them—

Samuel Hill also says that he was at the Attack upon William Barker's House in Sowerby during the last Winter along with the aforesaid Job Hey, and Crowther and others, and joined them under the like Fear of his Life as before—These are all the Offences which he has committed during the late unhappy Tumults in the West Riding and the County of York—He has taken no unlawful Oath. The said Samuel Hill hath been induced to commit these crimes by reason of his living next Door Neighbour to the aforesaid Job Hey. The Reason of his not making this confession sooner, is this, On the Apprehension of his Brother John Hill who was afterwards executed, the said Samuel Hill fled to Sea and was there in the Merchant service and did not return from till the sixth of April instant, and took an early Opportunity of making this confession before the Reverend Doctor Coulthurst, and of taking the Oath of Allegiance—

Taken before me this thirteenth
Day of April one Thousand
Eight Hundred and thirteen

Samuel Hill

Hylom Coulthurst

At the same time he also took the Oath of Allegiance for me

Friday, 12 April 2013

12th April 1813: 'An Attentive Hearer' writes another missive in the Leeds Intelligencer

Mr. PRINTER,—In reply to the "Printer’s" Paragraph this week, I inform him, that my Witnesses do speak positively, they state positively that they distinctly heard Mellor’s Confession. The "Diligent Enquirer" knows this, and he also knows he is the author of a wilful untruth, when he says they contradict one half of what I say: they do not contradict one word of what I have advanced! he is not ashamed, in order to make his defeat appear less complete, to shelter himself behind a battery of falsehood.

And forsooth, unblushingly to charge me with falsifying the Evidence of his Authorities! a charge which I shall prove to be as false, as all his other attempts to prove me in error.

First then I will state what I said respecting them: my words were "Out of seven brought to oppose them, (i.e. my authorities,) six say they cannot positively say how it was; and one, to the best of his knowledge and belief, thinks it was not so." For this my Opponent publicly charges me with falsehood; with having given as evidence what I was not warranted in doing. Let him read the following Paragraph; "We the undersigned were present at the Execution of Mellor, Thorp and Smith, and we believe that Mellor never made use, (in his prayer just before the execution) of the words, "us poor murderers;" and, "Die Game;" and we are of opinion if he had used them, we should have heard him; but we cannot positively say, we should have heard and remembered them." This is a literal Copy of what five of his authorities have affixed their names to, and must consequently be taken as their testimony. The sixth was asked to sign the above, or the following; "We the undersigned, were present at the execution of Mellor, Thorp and Smith, and distinctly heard every word Mellor used in his prayer, just before he was executed; and we are positively certain that no such words as, "us poor murderers" and, "Die Game;" fell from his lips; and we are sure if they had, we should have both heard and remembered them."—He however refused to sign either, but stated, if he were to sign one, it would be the former; he observed, "he was of opinion the words in question were not used," but added "at such times my mind is so taken up with what is passing, that I cannot positively say he did not use them."—The seventh refused to sign either one or the other; and said he was of opinion the words were not used; so that the last paragraph stating that they were positively certain, remains without a single signature—It may be necessary here to observe, that nine persons were named by the "Diligent Enquirer," two of whom had already made themselves parties in the dispute, and consequently have never been treated as Authorities by either party; seven being the number allowed on both sides.

I have now complied with the "Printers" wish, and "published the written and verbal testimony of his seven witnesses;" which he declares, I have falsely stated in my last Letter. The result of my enquiries is correctly given above, as nearly verbatim as possible; and I defy any one, to prove in any one instance, that it is contrary to my last report. Let it be remembered that the above Gentlemen, were declared by the "Diligent Enquirer," to be quite positively certain I was wrong! Has not the result of my enquiries, proved his report to be a falsification of Evidence?—This charge however he has falsely laid on me; I challenge him to prove his assertion; and if he fail, I call upon him publicly to declare himself in error; and confess he has falsely charged me with a Lie. If he refuse to do either, I have no hesitation in publicly declaring him, to be every thing that a Gentleman ought not to be.

In the beginning of this controversy my opponent proved himself to be truly expert in the language of abuse; now, he weakly asserts with the most unblushing effrontery, things which he knows to be false; if in future he should expect me to notice his observations, I must beg he will cease to insult his readers with his palpable falsehoods;—if he will not deviate from truth, I am ready at all times to answer his remarks.


Leeds, April 2d, 1813.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

3rd April 1813: The Leeds Mercury taunts 'An Attentive Hearer' in an editorial

An "Attentive Hearer" is more invincible than Dr. Goldsmith’s Village Schoolmaster. His witnesses, he says, in his last letter, speak positively. Do they, indeed!—Is it not, then, positively to deny one half of what he produced them to prove, and thereby to cast discredit upon the other half? And has he not, by referring to these witnesses, fixed upon himself, incontestably, the imputation of having put words, and very remarkable words too, into the mouth of a dying man that he never used? Let him answer these questions, and let the answers he is obliged to give, prove to him that he is not quite infallible, and teach him to be [less] dogmatical and more circumspect in future. [Of] the seven witnesses produced by him one, he says, speaks of his knowledge and belief and [illegible] the other six declare that they "cannot positively say how it was." This we know to be an incorrect report of the result of his enquiries; it is, in fact, a falsification of the evidence; and to proof of this, we challenge him to publish the verbal and written testimony of those seven witnesses, and thus to give the public an opportunity of judging how much his assertions are to be relied upon, whether they regard the expressions of the dead or of the living.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

2nd April 1813: Pseudo-Luddite burglary in Oldham

At 7.00 p.m. on Friday 2nd April 1813, 8 men entered the house of Mr Adam Ellis in Oldham. They remained there for 3 hours, drinking all the spirits and smoking all the tobacco they could find. Before they left with £25 in cash, their numbers were called over, in Luddite fashion.

Monday, 1 April 2013

[1st] April 1813: James Stuart-Wortley recommends a reward for 2 informers

No 45, Lower [Grosvenor] Street

Dear Sir,

I beg leave to call your notice that two persons, named Broughton and Howells, were employed by me for the purpose of detecting certain persons in the town of Barnsley, who had engaged in administering unlawful Oaths. Upon their information and evidence, I committed two persons to take their trial at York, named John Eadon and Craven Cookson, one of whom John Eadon was convicted at the late Special Assizes.

I have to request therefore that they may receive such reward as the Secretary of State may think their services merit. There is also a small sum, I think about 27£ incurred for expences during the time they were employed.

I am Dear Sir
your faithful humble servt
J Stuart Wortley

[To: Lord Sidmouth]