Friday 31 May 2013

31st May 1813: A copy of the Luddite oath is discovered at a Coaching Inn in London

The Castle & Falcon on Aldersgate Street, London

Marlbro’ St
May 31 - 1813

Dear Sir

The inclosed paper was given to me yesterday by a Gentleman, who found it amongst some Papers belonging to a Servant, whom he has lately Discharged for dishonesty — It appears to be a copy of the Oath taken by the Luddites, & the Person named on the Back seems to be referred to, as being in some way connected with them — the Castle & Falcon in Aldersgate St. where he is said to be waiter, is principally frequented I believe by Carriers & Travellers from the North — I have thought it right to communicate the circumstance to you that farther enquiry may be made if it should be thought necessary — I have the Honor to be

Dear Sir
Your very Obed Servant
Bob Baker

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

[The oath is below]

of my own Voluntary will do Declare and Solemnly swear that I never will reveal to any person or persons in any place or places under the Canopy of Heaven the manner of any of the person composing the secret Committee either by word, Deed, or Action sign or by Address mark, Committee either by word Deed Complextion or any other things leading to the Discovery of the same under the penalty of Being put out of the world by the first Brother whom I may meet and of having my name and Character Blotted out of existence or never remembered But with Contempt and ignominy — and I do further Sware that I will use my utmost Endeavour to punish with Death any traitor or traitors who may rise up against us though he should fly to the verge of existence I will pursue with unceasing Vengeance

[On reverse]

So help me G to keep this Oath inviolate

A B 90 Bartholomew close

Mr [Brown] Castle Falken
Waiter Aldersgate St

Wednesday 22 May 2013

22nd May 1813: The Leeds newspapers report on a massive petition for parliamentary reform

On Saturday 22nd May 1813, the Leeds Mercury carried a letter about a local petition for parliamentary reform:

MR. Editor,—The Committee for conducting the Petition from Leeds, and its neighbourhood, praying for a reform in the Commons House of Parliament, request that you will oblige them by inserting in your next paper the following


The Committee have the pleasure to report, that by active perseverance in this best of public causes, they have been enabled to overcome difficulties that at first appeared insurmountable.—In the discharge of this patriotic duty, they have had to encounter the frowns, the insults, and even the threats, of the enemies of Reform; the most violent of whom they found amongst persons who, by various means, contrive to live upon other men's industry. Such characters can easily comprehend how a great deal of money should be received very little labour; but that much labour should be performed for no reward whatever, either in hand or in prospect, is to them a thing quite incomprehensible. From this cause, your Committee have frequently been stiled mischievous agitators; they have been told that their services were paid for by some "factious Reformer," and that their motives were selfish and abominable. To all the slander they had only to reply, and they challenged any man living to contradict them, that their Motives were Pure—their Services Voluntary, and their Labours Free and Unbought, and to express their fervent wish that all the Members of that Assembly, which it is the object of this Petition to reform, in rendering an account of their stewardship, should be able to lay their hand upon their heart and make the same honest declaration.

Your Committee have the pleasure further to state, that a number of their countrymen, amounting to 17,472, have placed their signatures to this Petition, which has for its object the overthrow of the Borough Faction, by whose pernicious influence the commerce of the country is paralized—its taxation increased—the price of all the necessaries of life advanced—and war and bloodshed continued.

It remains only for them to add, that the Petition which they this day transmit to the House of Commons, originated with the labouring classes, and by then it has been carried through, unaided by any persons above their own rank, with the exception of one individual, by whose patriotic kindness they were furnished with sheets for signatures, and to whom they beg to express their sincere obligations. To this service they have applied the labour of 120 days! and they trust that persons in other places, influenced by their example, and encouraged by their success, will promote similar Petitions—that the names of thousands, and tens of thousands of Parliamentary Reformers, will soon cover the Table of the Chapel of St. Stephen’s, and that, in the nervous language of the Apostle of Reform, "the Borough Faction will be made to bend like a broken reed," before the thunder of the public voice.

Leeds, May 14, 1813.
Two days later, the Tory Leeds Intelligencer responded in acerbic fashion, linking reform with Luddism:
"WHAT! are You not contented YET?"

See page 48, proceedings at York, Jan. 1813.

Can any man in his senses be still ignorant of the nature of that political reform which is likely to be brought about by seventeen thousand labourers? Can any man in this Riding "above the rank" of a labourer, in the teeth of recent transactions, countenance the iniquitous practice of incessantly repeating to the ignorant and unthinking, the declarations that "bad trade, taxation, the high price of the necessaries of life, and war," are all the effects of Borough influence, and other corruptions of Government, which some theoretical reform is to cure—and yet hold up his head in the presence of men of reflection and principle?

Did not one individual above the rank of a labourer appear publicly in Lancashire immediately after certain trials at Lancaster? Did not the same individual appear at Huddersfield immediately after certain trials at York, expressly to repeat these notions, and to rally the spirits of baffled reformers? ‘Tis readily enough granted that this conduct cannot be encouraged by any but the most grovelling minds, yet the countenance of these low and wicked proceedings is not confined to Labourers.

I ask again, what is the direct, natural tendency of that unqualified censure which is daily poured forth upon the measures of our country’s rulers?—If we think it no sin to "despise dominion," are we still blind to our own private and personal interest?—Do we still imagine that " ‘tis only the obnoxious shearing-frames?" only the rotten Boroughs?—Are we absolutely stupefied by [pettiso], party prejudices, and narrow calculations? where is the cool deliberation, the enlarged views, the foresight and prudence, the manly spirit, the generous candour, the religious firmness of Britons?

The gasconading strut of so many thousand names to a popular petition, is of itself contemptible enough, more especially when it is considered that dozens and scores of these names have been affixed without moving a yard, and that not one of the persons in a score, has any conception what the petitions mean. But the infamous use that is made of such petitions, to inflame the worst passions of the unguarded multitude, should be openly discountenanced by every friend to society and government.

Our whining peaceable philanthropists will soon teach these 17,000 united labourers, the vast proportion they bear to the population of the neighbourhood in which they live; the multitude of their affiliated brethren in other places; the aggregate importance in the State; their wisdom; their strength; and, of course their right to insist upon attention to their humble voice. Are we so dull as not to see the consequences?


Friday 17 May 2013

17th May 1813: Meeting at the Yew Tree Inn, Roberttown, in support of William Cartwright & Joseph Radcliffe

The Leeds Intelligencer of 24th May 1813 carried an article about a meeting in Roberttown held to organise a reward and recognition for William Cartwright & Joseph Radcliffe, as well as the minutes of the meeting, which are reproduced below:
On Monday the 17th inst. a number of respectable Gentleman from Leeds, Halifax, Huddersfield, Wakefield and the intermediate district, met at the Yew Tree Inn, Robert-Town, to co-operate in expressing the high sense entertained by the West-Riding, of the services of Joseph Radcliffe, Esq; and Mr. Wm. Cartwright, of Rawfolds, during the late disturbances. Wm. Rawson, Esq; of Halifax, was called to the Chair.—A letter was read from Bradford, stating, that it seemed to be the general sense of the inhabitants of that town, to limit their co-operation to the object expressed in the Resolutions, (see advertisement in our first page.) The Members of the Huddersfield Committee laid before the meeting the proceedings of their town’s meetings on the 6th inst. the Halifax Committee the proceedings of a public meeting of their town and parish on the 12th inst. and the Wakefield Committee the proceedings of their town’s meeting of the 13th inst. The Gentleman from Leeds stated, that no town’s meeting had been held there, but expressed their cordial concurrence as individuals, in their own names and that of many others, in the objects of the meeting. The Gentleman of the intermediate district did the same. A Committee of five was formed to prepare the Addresses, and consisted of a Gentleman from Huddersfield, from Wakefield, from Halifax, from Leeds, and one from the intermediate country. The Addresses and Resolutions were all passed unanimously; and there were one heart and mind to promote the objects of the meeting.
The Late Disturbances.

AT a MEETING of GENTLEMEN, Inhabitants of the West Riding of the County of York, held at the Yew Tree Inn, Robert-Town, on Monday, May 17, 1813, for the Purpose of co-operating in carrying into Effect such Measures as may best express the high State entertained by the Riding, of the meritorious Services of JOSEPH RADCLIFFE, Esq; and of Mr. WM. CARTWRIGHT, during the recent Disturbances.

WILLIAM RAWSON, Esq; in the Chair,

An Address of Thanks to Joseph Radcliffe, Esq; was proposed and unanimously adopted.

An Address of Thanks to Mr. W. Cartwright, was unanimously adopted.

These Addresses remain for the Signatures of such Gentlemen as were not at the Meeting, in the Hands of

Rev. Samuel Sharpe, Vicar, Wakefield,
Rev. Hammond Roberson, Heald’s Hall,
Mr. James Knight, Halifax.
Mr. George Oates, Leeds,
Mr. Battye, Huddersfield.

The following Resolutions were passed unanimously:

1. That Donations, to be offered as some Acknowledgement of Mr. Wm. Cartwright’s Services, be received the following Banks, viz.

Messrs, Beckett, Blayds, and Co. Leeds.
Fields, Greenwood and Co. ditto.
Thompson, Holtby and Co. ditto.
Crowder, Perfect and Co. ditto.
Nicholson, Brown and Co. ditto.
Milnes, Leatham and Co. Wakefield.
Wentworth, Chalenor and Co. ditto.
B &  J. Ingham and Co. Huddersfield.
John Dobson and Sons, ditto.
Hirst and Sykes, ditto.
Wm. Brook and Sons, ditto.
J.W and C. Rawson, Halifax.
Rhodes, Briggs and Co. ditto.
Peckover, Harris and Co. Bradford.
Hagues and Cook, Dewsbury.
Taylors, Gomersal.

2. That Thomas Allen, Esq; of Huddersfield, be appointed Treasurer to the Fund now instituted; and that, after presenting a handsome Sum to Mr. Cartwright the Residue be secured upon his Family—The precise Sum to be so presented, and the Manner of securing such Residue, to be determined by a Meeting of the Contributors, expressly called for that Purpose by the Treasurer, and to be held at the Yew Tree Inn, in Robert Town, on a Day to be advertised in the Leeds, and Wakefield and Halifax Newspapers.

3. That the Names and Sums subscribed be published in the Two Leeds papers, and in the Wakefield and Halifax Newspapers by the Treasurer, in the Order in which they are received by him.

4. That these Resolutions be published in both the Leeds, and the Wakefield and Halifax Newspapers.

Arrangements were made towards establishing a Co-operating Committee London; and the Meeting was adjourned until Monday, June 7, to be held at the Yew Tree Inn, at Nine in the Morning precisely.

W.M. RAWSON, Chairman.

The Cordial Thanks to the Meeting were unanimously given to the Chairman.

Sunday 12 May 2013

12th May 1813: Third attack on a Tenter belonging to John Drake

At 10 p.m. on Wednesday 12th May 1813, John Drake senior heard a loud crashing noise coming from outside his house at Longroyd Bridge.  He and his son, also called John, and his daughter-in-law Sarah went outside to surprise three men who were in the process of attacking and breaking his Tenter. The raiders being surprised, they turned and ran.

This was the third occasion on recent months that Drake's Tenters had been attacked, all on account of his son, Joseph (a former Luddite who took part in the attack on Rawfolds) turning informer and giving evidence at the York Special Commission.

Eight days later, the three Drakes had decided that one of those who had taken part in the attack was Richard Brook, from Longroyd Bridge, and went to give a statement to Joseph Radcliffe.

12th May 1813: Meeting in Halifax in support of William Cartwright & Joseph Radcliffe


At a numerous and highly respectable Public Meeting of Inhabitants of the Town and Parish of Halifax, called by the Constables of Halifax, to take into Consideration the Services of those Gentleman who so meritoriously exerted themselves during the late Disturbances in the West Riding of the County of York, and held on Wednesday, the 12th of May, 1813, at the White Lion Inn.

JAMES KNIGHT, Esq; Constable of Halifax,
in the Chair;
It was unanimously Resolved,

1st. That this Meeting acknowledges with Gratitude the Wisdom of the Legislature, in granting additional Powers to the Magistrates of the Disturbed Districts; and the paternal Care of H.R.H. the Prince Regent’s Government, in appointing an adequate Military Force in Aid of the Civil Power, and in that judicious tempering of Justice with Mercy at the late Special Commission at York, in admitting to Bail so many Persons implicated in the late Disturbances.

2d. That the Cordial Thanks of this Meeting be given to the Right Honourable Lieutenant General Maitland, Major General Ackland, and their Staffs; and to the Officers and Men of the several Regiments and Detachments of his Majesty's Forces, stationed in this Town and Parish, for their zealous Co-operation with the Civil Power, and their orderly and soldier-like Conduct.

3d. That the Cordial Thanks of this Meeting are given to the Right Honourable Earl Fitzwilliam his Majesty's Lieutenant; Sir Francis Wood, Bart. Vice-Lieutenant; and the Deputy Lieutenants and Magistrates of the Riding, for their active and persevering Exertions in preserving and restoring the Public Peace.

4th That the particular Thanks of this Meeting are due to JOSEPH RADCLIFFE Esq; and that the following Address be presented to that Magistrate.

(This address lies at Mr. Edwards’s, Bookseller for the Signature [the] of Gentleman as were prevented attending this Public Meeting)

5th. That the particular Thanks of this Meeting are due to Mr. WILLIAM CARTWRIGHT, of Rawfolds, and that the following Address be presented to him.

(This address lies and Mr. Edwards’s, Bookseller, for Signatures.)

6th. That this Town and Parish will most cordially co-operate with other Towns in the West-Riding, in promoting the Objects of this Meeting, and that the following Gentleman are appointed a Committee for this Purpose, Three of whom shall be a Quorum, with Power to add to their Number, and to form Sub-Committees in different Places of the Parish.


James Knight
John Rawson, Jun.
Constables of Halifax.
William Rawson
John Rhodes
John Waterhouse
Roland Ramsden
Robert Foley, M.D.
Colonel Ramsden
George Pollard
Christopher Saltmarshe
William Norris
Christopher Rawson,
James Thompson
William Bates
John Haigh, Causeway
Samuel Hodgson Jun.
William Wilcock
Stansfeld Rawson
John Thomson, M.D.

Samuel Freeman
W. Barber
J. Walker, Jun.

John Armytage
John Fryer
John Clay

Joseph Rushforth
James Cartledge
John Dyson
John Hirst

Richard Howarth
Rev. Robert Webster
Fenton Lambert
John Richardson

Colonel Moore
W.H. Rawson
George Priestley
John Priestley

Hamlet Bent
Gaml. Sutcliffe
Richard Sutcliffe, Stanshaw Gates

Thomas Milne
Henry Currier
Mr. Tillotson
Jos. Farrer

Thomas Preston
William Greenup
John Dyson
Henry Edwards
Robert Wainhouse
Charles Hudson
John Sutcliffe

James Greenwood
R. Ramsbotham
Mr. Ackroyd, Junior, Brook-house

John Edwards
William Mitchell
Thomas Greenwood
Mr. Hughlings
Thomas Holmes

Wm. Priestley
John Holland
George Armytage

James Rawdon
John Sutcliffe
Mr. Ingham, Shaws

7th. That it is the Duty of this Town and Parish to share the Expences and Losses incurred by Mr. W. Cartwright, in Consequence of the late Disturbances, and that Donations in Aid of this Object be received by the Committee, and that the Banks of Messrs. J.W. and C.Rawson; and of Messrs. Rhodes, Briggs and Garlick.

8th. That it be an Instruction to the Committee now appointed to propose to the Central Committee about to be formed by the Committees of other Towns, that a handsome Compensation be made to Mr. Wm. Cartwright to cover his Expences and Losses, and that the Funds remaining after this Compensation, be secured upon his Family.

9th. That the Cordial Thanks of this Meeting are hereby given to the Patroles, Constables, and Special Constables of the several Townships of this Parish, for their meritorious Services in coming forward for the Preservation of the Peace.


Mr. Knight having left the Chair, and Mr. Ramsden having been called to it;
It was Resolved Unanimously,

10th. That the Thanks of this Meeting be given to James Knight and John Rawson, Jun. Esquires, Constables of Halifax, for having appointed this Public Meeting of the Town and Parish, for their Exertions in promoting its Object, and for their Conduct this Day.