Wednesday 31 December 2014

31st December 1814: John Lee asks the Home Office if they support the prosecution of the former spy, Joseph Taylor

By the end of 1814, time had caught up with the former spy, Joseph Taylor, who had been caught out extorting money from the well-to-do in Lancashire, trading on his usefulness to the government as a spy.

My Lord,

In the Matter of Joseph Taylor.

I have the honour by the directions of the Magistrates here to transmit your Lordship a Statement accompanied by a Copy of the Papers referred to therein, of the Manner in which the above Person obtained divers Sums of Money from several of the Gentleman and Merchants of Rochdale and its Neighbourhood, in order that Government may if thought proper, direct him to be prosecuted at its Expence, conformably to the Wish of the Parties concerned.

I beg to observe to your Lordship that the Quarter Sessions at Manchester commence about the Middle of January next And therefore the Transaction I am now troubling your Lordship with &c demands immediate Attention. As soon as your Lordship shall have obtained the Determination of Government upon this Business I hope to be favoured therewith for the Information and Guidance of the Gentleman here. I trust your Lordship will think with me that Taylor ought not to go unpunished.

I am [etc]
Jno: Lee.
Rochdale Decr 31st 1814.

[To] The Right Honble
Lord Viscount Sidmouth
Secretary of State
&c. &c. &c.

Although the papers are absent from the Home Office files, a cover note from a Home Office clerk to John Beckett of the Home Office written in the New Year follows with a description of the contents of John Lee's letter:

Letter and five Inclosures from Mr. Lee of Rochdale containing an account of Joseph Taylor who was useful during the Disturbances in the north West Districts – This man it appears has been obtaining various Sums of money by making unauthorized use of the name of Sir J Radcliffe &c—That he has imposed upon several reputable Individuals by false Stories & by producing Certificates fraudulently obtained & false lists of Subscriptions & by asserting that he never received any thing from Government for his Services – he has been committed by the magistrates, who wish to know whether Government will prosecute—Will Mr Beckett first send these papers privately to Mr. Hobhouse?

[Home Department] 3d Jany 1815.

John Beckett then forwarded the documents to Henry Hobhouse, the Solicitor to the Treasury, on the same day with the following note:


Mr. Beckett presents his Compliments to Mr Hobhouse & is directed by Lord Sidmouth to transmit for his perusal the several accompanying papers relative to the Conduct of Joseph Taylor, the Person employed during the Disturbances. Mr. Beckett requests that Mr Hobhouse will return them with such remarks as he may see occasion to make.

Home Department
3d January [1815]

31st December 1814: The dissection of Joanna Southcott

Dr. Richard Reece, though not a believer that Joanna Southcott was any kind of prophet, had medically attended upon her for several weeks prior to her death. He quickly published a pamphlet about his whole encounter very soon after her death, and extracts from it were published in many newspapers. This extract was published in the Manchester Mercury of 17th January 1815:

"The following day, a quarter of an hour before the time appointed, I arrived at Mrs. S.’s in order to prepare the body for the operation, but I was not permitted to touch it till the expiration of the hour, hanging as it were with a fond and eager hope to the last moment, in the cherished expectation of her rising again. At the appointed hour of two, the medical gentlemen were punctual in their attendance, viz. Dr. Adams, Dr. Sims; Messrs Taunton, Clarke, Want, Caton, Mathias, Cooke, and several others, whose names I not acquainted with. I then went with some of the disciples to the apartment where the body was lying, and I was surprised to find her exactly in the same situation as when she died, lying in bed, and covered with flannel, with her wearing apparel, rings, and every thing in the same unaltered state. The body was now in such a high degree of putrefaction, that we could not trust to the limbs to convey it, and it was accordingly moved to the table on a sheet. On every thing being in readiness, the attendance of the medical men was requested, who all placed themselves round the table, and behind them stood the disciples smoking tobacco; a proof that they did not consider the prophetess to possess the most savoury odour!

"The disappointment of her disciples on opening of the body, may be better conceived than described. It was strongly depicted in every countenance. Mr. Sharpe was the only one that held out to the rest the balm of consolation. Life, he observed, was involved in mystery. His mind had been so often turned to the investigation of the works of the Deity, to discover evidence for the existence of the soul, that, he was satisfied of the existence of a God and of a soul: that he was in hopes, by this woman, something would be revealed; but now he felt greatly disappointed, and all the he could say was, that he was in the same state with respect to his knowledge of God, as before he saw this woman. The two female attendants, Mrs. Townly and Mrs. Underwood, were inconsolable. They had all pictured to themselves many happy days, the enjoyment of heaven on earth. This sad event, this unexpected change, to suddenly coming upon them, was too much to bear. One of the disciples declared he should turn Unitarian. None condemned her as an impostor—one declared he would ever revere her memory, and once a month visit the spot where she was laid with pious and reverential awe!!!

The Morning Post of the 2nd January published (among others) a declaration by the medical men present about the outcome of the dissection:


We, the undersigned, present at the dissection of Mrs. JOANNA SOUTHCOTT, do certify, that no unnatural appearances were visible, and no part exhibiting any visible appearance of disease sufficient to have occasioned her death; that a number of gall stones were found in the gall bladder, and the intestines were unusually distended with flatus, and no appearance of her ever having been pregnant. The uterus was not distended, enlarged, or diseased, but on the contrary rather smaller than the usual size.

Dr. Reece.
Dr. Sims.
Dr. Adams.
Mr. Clarke.
Mr. Want.
Mr. Cooke.
Mr. Stanhope.
Mr. Caton.
Mr. Phillips.
Mr. Darling.
Mr. Foster.
Mr. Wetherall.
Mr. Santon.
Mr. Wagstaffe.
Mr. Wilkinson.

Tuesday 30 December 2014

30th December 1814: Joanna Southcott's followers remain convinced she will rise from the dead

Dr. Richard Reece, though not a believer that Joanna Southcott was any kind of prophet, had medically attended upon her for several weeks prior to her death. He quickly published a pamphlet about his whole encounter very soon after her death, and extracts from it were published in many newspapers. This extract was published in the Manchester Mercury of 17th January 1815: 

In the course of [Friday] I called again, for the purpose of informing the attendants I would decline opening the body if they would not consent to it on the following day. I saw on this occasion Mr. Sharpe and Col. Harwood, who considered the time would not be expired till the following morning at four o'clock, according to her dying injunctions, making four days from her death: after that time I was at liberty, they said, to open the body. On this I appointed two o'clock next day, when the Colonel informed me he would himself acquaint the Medical Gentleman who were appointed to attend by Mrs. Southcott. He requested to know the names of the Medical Gentleman I intended to introduce, when I gave the names of Messrs. Clarke, Want, Caton, and Maccloud. The disciples in attendance were equally sanguine in the idea of her rising again. She is not dead but sleepeth, seemed to be the opinion of the whole. In performing the dissection, it was requested by Mr. Tozer, that I would conduct it in the same manner as the Cesarian operation, that all hopes of resuscitation might not be destroyed!! To this request I replied, that certainly the same power that could raise a putrid body, could raise one that had been opened. His next request was, that I would take care of the child, for he and all the disciples were fully confident, if Joanna was not raised before opening the body, the child would be found on dissection.

Monday 29 December 2014

29th December 1814: Dr. Richard Recce is concerned about the remains of Joanna Southcott

Dr. Richard Reece, though not a believer that Joanna Southcott was any kind of prophet, had medically attended upon her for several weeks prior to her death. He quickly published a pamphlet about his whole encounter very soon after her death, and extracts from it were published in many newspapers. This extract was published in the Manchester Mercury of 17th January 1815:

On Thursday I paid another visit to the remains of Joanna. The body was beginning to be offensive, her lips and fingers had assumed a black appearance, but even this change did not shake the faithful of her followers, and I was obliged seriously to address Mr. Sharpe, stating that putrefaction had actually begun to take place, that the warmth employed would accelerate the process, and, if continued, it would be to no purpose to open the body. To this he replied, rather sharply, "do not be uneasy, you will not suffer by it, for depend upon it she will return to the body. My answer was, that if they thought so, they should endeavour to keep it sweet for her reception; for should the ceremony for her marriage in Heaven continue two days longer, the tenement would not be habitable on her return. Well then, said he, the greater will be the miracle. The God that raised up Lazarus will raise her up, and that he would do so, he had not the smallest doubt. The evil, I replied, will in this case find its own remedy, for in two or three days she will stink you all out of the house. Colonel Harwood informed me, that several medical men had called and inspected the body, who agreed in opinion of her being dead, except Dr. Sims, who would not speak decisively, from her warmth, so that even on the question of death we could not agree.

Sunday 28 December 2014

28th December 1814: Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin visits Garnerin's 'Phantasmagoria' in London

By Wednesday 28th December 1814, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin was back in London, after returning from her elopement to the continent with Percy Shelley in September. Aged 17, she was 5 months pregnant and, at that point, estranged from her father, and lived with Shelley, as yet unmarried.

Her journals for the 28th December record an outing that night that seems likely to have later have played a part in influencing her first novel, which she would begin 18 months later:
[Shelley & I]—go to Garnerin's lecture—on Electricity—the gasses—& the Phantasmagoria
'Phantasmagoria' was the name given to an exhibition of optical illusions via a magic lantern, a relatively new but very popular form of entertainment. It had also already come to mean a series of real or imaginary images experienced in a dream, or fever-like state. It was also the name of a French collection of German ghost stories, translated by Jean-Baptiste Benoît Eyriès, which Byron would read to Mary, Shelley and others 18 months later at the villa Diodati.

Garnerin was André-Jacques Garnerin, a pioneering French balloonist & parachutist, with a now lesser-know sideline in this kind of show. A front-page advert in the classified section of The Times of the preceding day announced his show:
THEATRE of GRAND PHILOSOPHICAL RECREATIONS.—The Professor GARNERIN has the honour to inform the Nobility and Gentry, that in consequence of his engagements at Covent-garden, his Theatre will be open this week, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and he hopes to merit the approbation of his numerous visitors, by his new experiments on the Electricity, Gas, Aerostation, Fantasmagoria, &c. The performance begins at 7 o'clock. Spring-gardens room.
An advert for the show in the 19th January 1815 edition of the Times promised, in addition to the above, that Garnerin would "make the experiment of Johanna Southcott's Resurrection." Southcott was still featuring in April 1815, with an advert in the Morning Post of 17th April mentioning her and detailing 'Experiments of Electricity' featuring "the Electric Dance, Delineation of a Thunderbolt, Fire produced from Water, and Imitations of the Aurora Borealis."

Saturday 27 December 2014

27th December 1814: The death of Joanna Southcott

Joanna Southcott, as depicted by William Sharp in a print of an engraving from 1812. Sharp was a former radical turned millenarian convert & disciple of Southcott, one or her 'elect' or inner circle.

The death of Joanna Southcott was publicly announced in several newspapers, one of the earliest being the Morning Chronicle of Wednesday 28th December 1814. Their article was picked up by the Leeds Mercury of 31st December, and that version is published below:


"SIR—As you desired to be present at Mrs. Southcott’s accouchment, had it taken place, as was then expected; the friends consider it as their duty to inform you and all the medical gentlemen who had that intention, that to all appearance she died this morning exactly as the clock struck four.

"Care is taken to preserve warmth in the body as she directed; and it is the wish of the friends that you will see her in her present state.


"38, Manchester-street, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 1814.

"To Dr. R. Reece."


"SIR—Agreeably to your request, I send a messenger to acquaint you that Joanna Southcott died this morning, precisely at four o'clock. The believers in her mission, supposing that the vital functions are only suspended for a few days, will not permit me to open the body until some symptom appears which may destroy all hopes of resuscitation.―I am, Sir, your obedient servant,


"Piccadilly, Dec. 27, 1814."

As Mrs. Southcott’s believers are of opinion she has only gone into a trance (which she predicted twenty years ago), and that she will be delivered of Shiloh in four days, we shall (says The Sunday Monitor) on Sunday next be able to communicate further particulars.

Messrs. Wetherall, Adams, and Kent, were present when she breathed her last, as were Miss Townley, Ann Underwood, the housekeeper and Mr. Smith, one of those she determined her seven elect. The last words she was heard distinctly to utter were, "Oh England! England!"

The faith of the believers is now stretched to its utmost capacity. To imagine that a living virgin at sixty five would produce a son was pretty well! but to believe, firmly and steadfastly, that a dead virgin, beyond the grand climacteric, will return to life to become the mother of a living Shiloh, implies a stretch of credulity that stands unparalleled in the annals of fanatical delusion!

Number 38 Manchester Street, Marylebone in June 2014 (from Google Street View). The address at which Southcott lived up until her death.

Friday 26 December 2014

26th December 1814: A report about the ailing Joanna Southcott

The Leeds Intelligencer of Monday 26 December 1814 published an update on the ailing Joanna Southcott:


The extravagant and degrading folly of Joanna Southcott’s tribe is likely to be soon at an end, so far as such fools can be cured of their absurdity. The Priestess herself is about, as we understand, to drop her trade. Shiloh has not come, and no period could be chosen more suitable than the present one of disappointment for a general closing of the Firm. The report is, that the miserable old Woman herself is dying. We are yet unacquainted whether this be true, or whether it is not a new trick to smooth over the deception in a way, which leaving the imposture sufficiently undecided, for at least the vulgar roguery of her followers, may give room for new visions, and new practices on the public credulity. The whole business has been eminently disgusting, and we think, serious blame attaches to those in whose province the protection of public order naturally falls, for suffering this indecency and crime to go so far. We live in a Christian country; the spirit of the Religion is deeply mingled with the whole frame of our Civil Society; the law is made strong as well for the protection of feebleness and ignorance against low delusion, as against the more palpable violences that may derange the general system. We have a provision of Law expressly directed against impostures on our Religion. Why were they not put in force while such vagrants as Mr. Towzer and his coadjutors were holding forth in the face of the Police. It is a mere evasion to say, that the delusion would come to an end. It was not the less culpable and those who permitted it to take a single step towards the diffusion which it obtained. Why is the law put in force against the impostor who tricks a silly chambermaid out of sixpence for selling her fortune? And yet a delusion, so palpably gross and revolting as not to allow a moment’s doubt in any rational mind of its being a legitimate object of prevention and punishment, was suffered to spread to its full extent, and is now likely to be restrained only by the death of the wretched creature who lent herself to its vileness. Joanna Southcott's whole system was one continued course of grievous blasphemy, scarcely less guilty in those who allowed, than in those to whom it was made a source of profit. The profit was however immense, and the Magistracy would not do unwisely to clear their name of the possible imputation.

The above we have extracted from a respectable London print. The Believers here, however, are all on the alert. Mr. George Turner, (who is, we fancy, the High Priest, at Leeds,) received the following letter on Friday, from the Secretary of Joanna Southcott:

"I have the satisfaction to inform you, that our dear Joanna began to revive on Monday: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, she appeared dying; her pulse at 8, and Dr. Reece said she could not live over Monday, therefore he was very much surprised to find on that day her pulse rose, and otherways better. Yesterday she said, "What will the Doctor say now?" Mr. Westerhill said she had pains that indicated approaching labour, but he could draw no judgement how soon. The life of the child is strong. I have no time to add more, than kind love to yourself, Mr Hurst, sen. and all friends, and remain your’s faithfully in the work of the Lord;


Dec. 21, 1814.
Numerous Christmas presents too, were sent by the Union Coach, from this place, on Thursday, so as to arrive in town for Joanna's Christmas-Day Dinner.

Sunday 21 December 2014

21st December 1814: The death of the prisoner John Baines the elder

'Hulks in Portsmouth Harbour' by Thomas Christopher Hofland, c.1830. The Halifax prisoners were held in ships similar to these at the adjoining harbour at Langstone, immediately to the east of Portsmouth
On Wednesday 21st December 1814, John Baines the elder, one of the 5 men from from Halifax found guilty at the York Special Commission of administering illegal oaths, died on board a prison hulk in Langstone harbour, Portsmouth.

Baines was the third prisoner of the 7 who were sentenced to transportation at York to die since arriving on the south coast. John Lumb had died in an accident within 6 weeks of arrival, and Baines' own son, also called John, had died earlier in the year, in March 1814.

Like with his son, the prison hulk register is the only source of information about Baines' fate, and the cause of death is not recorded there. He would have been aged around 67-68 at the time. Given his age, Baines had done well to survive for almost 2 years - his son was aged only about 35 when he died, and the prison hulks were notorious for their poor conditions.

At this time point, none of the prisoners sentenced to transportation at the York Special Commission had actually been deported.

It is not known where Baines' remains are buried.

Saturday 20 December 2014

20th December 1814: Lancashire Calico Masters call for the disbanding of the Journeymen's Union

Dog-Tavern, Manchester, 20th Dec. 1814.


AN ADDRESS from the MASTER CALICO PRINTERS in Lancashire and the Counties adjacent, approved of at a General Meeting held here this day.

THE Masters sincerely regret, that the conciliatory sentiments which they earnestly submitted to the Journeymen, by the printed Resolutions of the 22d March last, were not embraced; and, that the recent proceedings of the latter evince a determination to carry their unnatural system of controul to every possible extent.

If the blind selfishness of this spirit were not checked, the ruin of those who act upon it, as well as of their employers, must be the certain result — The trade itself would be forced into those countries where combinations do not exist, and where it will be left to the natural and genial influence of freedom.

It is notorious, that foreign competition is daily gaining ground; and if the English Printers remain inactive, or are not permitted the free exercise of their own discretion, they and the articifers they employ, with their numerous families, depending upon this branch of business, will inevitably become martyrs to the unlawful and extravagant claims and restrictions of the Journeyman, whilst others are enjoying the fruits of that ingenuity, and of those exertions, to which the establishment and improvement of the trade are so essentially indebted.

Under the increased and increasing pressure of these evils, the Masters were impelled to associate. They know that the interests of themselves and their servants are completely identified. They seek no reduction in the established rate of wages, and they are perfectly disposed to give employment to such of the Journeymen as are desirous of conducting themselves faithfully, and of submitting to the conditions which are indispensable to the well-being and prosperity of all trade. If any individuals yet obstinately refuse, their object will be decided, and they must sustain the consequence. The services of such men cannot be of any value, and they will not afterwards be accepted.

The CONDITIONS alluded to are these, viz.

They are to withdraw themselves entirely from all combinations to controul or restrict their employers, and engage not to be concerned in them for the future. They are to do all such work as may be offered to them in their several capacities, without attempting to interfere as to the kind or number of hands employed, or the machines used; they are to conform to the rules prescribed for the preservation of order and regularity in the works of their masters. They are to be subject to abatements for spoiled or imperfect work, not exceeding in any case the wages paid for the work done upon goods so damaged, except only in evident instances of malicious or wanton injury. And they are also, before they can be received, to sign a declaration in the form subjoined:
"I, A.B. do hereby declare, that I do not, nor will hereafter, belong to any combination, which has for its object the controul or restriction, in any way whatever, of my employers, in the free exercise or management of their business, nor will I, individually, attempt any such controul or restriction, but will, to the best of my ability, do such work as may be offered to me, in my capacity of <blank> during my service with <blank> and in all other respects conduct myself faithfully therein."

Wednesday 3 December 2014

3rd December 1814: Joanna Southcott's health deteriorates


Official Bulletin.—A material alteration has taken place within the last three days, in Mrs. Southcott’s situation.

On Thursday night, she complained of a great oppression insomuch that she could not lay down in her bed, nor be in one posture, but a very short time together during the night.

On Friday morning, she got some sleep, but waked frequently with the oppression and pain. Towards the evening she became restless again, had a very bad night, and this day, (Saturday) is so much exhausted, that she cannot keep her head off the pillow. She complains of a giddiness in her head, and extreme faintness all over her. She declares that she feels the animation within much stronger during these last three days than usual; sickness and pain continue, but not those pains that tend to any effectual good; only general pains all over her.

This is the state she is in at present; some change must soon take place, according to all human understanding, as she still continues without taking nourishment, except the wine, which does not remain long on her stomach. The sleep she has during the day, seems to be her only support.

Tuesday 2 December 2014

2nd December 1814: The government charges Charles Sutton with a 'criminal information' for libel

Around Friday 2nd December 1814, the proprietor of the Nottingham Review, Charles Sutton, was charged by the Attorney General with a 'criminal information' for libel for the satirical letter from 'General Ludd' published in the paper in October. The government had clearly decided that it had enough suitable evidence to try Sutton and he would face trial at the next Nottingham Assizes.

Saturday 29 November 2014

29th November 1814: The Times newspaper automates their printing operation

The Tuesday morning 29th November 1814 edition of The Times was the first one printed using the new automated steam-powered printing press designed & built by Friedrich König & Andreas Bauer of Würzburg, Germany. The editorial waxed lyrical about the new machine:


Our Journal of this day presents to the public the practical result of the greatest improvement connected with printing, since the discovery of the art itself. The reader of this paragraph now holds in his hand, one of the many thousand impressions of The Times newspaper, which were taken off last night by a mechanical apparatus. A system of machinery almost organic has been devised and arranged, which, while it relieves the human frame of its most laborious efforts in printing, far exceeds all human powers in rapidity and dispatch. That the magnitude of the invention may be justly appreciated by its effects, we shall inform the public, that after the letters are placed by the compositors, and enclosed in what is called the form, little more remains for man to do, than to attend upon, and watched this unconscious agent in its operations. The machine is then merely supplied with paper: itself places the form, inks it, adjusts the paper to the form newly inked, stamps the sheet, and gives it forth to the hands of the attendant, at the same time withdrawing the form for a fresh coat of ink, which itself again distributes, to meet the ensuing sheet now advancing for impression; and the whole of these complicated acts is performed with such a velocity and simultaneousness of movement, that no less than eleven hundred sheets are impressed in one hour.

That the completion of an invention of this kind, not the effect  of chance, but the result of mechanical combinations methodically arranged in the mind of the artist, should be attended with many obstructions and much delay, may be readily admitted. Our share in this event has, indeed, only been the application of the discovery, under an agreement with the Patentees, to our own particular business; yet few can conceive,—even with this limited interest,—the various disappointments and deep anxiety to which we have for a long course of time been subjected.

Of the person who made this discovery, we have but little to add. Sir CHRISTOPHER WREN'S noblest monument is to be found in the building which he erected; so is the best tribute of praise, which we are capable of offering to the inventor of the Printing Machine, comprising in the preceding description, which we have feebly sketched, of the powers and utility of his invention. It must suffice to say father, that he is a Saxon by birth; that his name is KŒNIG; and that the invention has been executed under the direction of his friend and countryman BAUER

Four days later, another editorial seemed rather more defensive and made it clear that the print workers were less than happy about some of their number losing their jobs to the new machine:

We are at length able to meet the complaints of our customers with a confidence in our capacity to remove the cause of them,—to meet their increasing demands with an assurance that we shall be able to fulfil them. The Machine of which we announced the discovery and our adoption a few days ago, has been whirling on its course ever since, with improving order, regularity, and even speed. The length of the debates on Thursday, the day when Parliament was adjourned, will have been observed: on such an occasion, the operation of composing and printing the last page must commence among all the journals at the same moment; and starting from that moment, we, with our infinitely superior circulation, were enabled to throw off our whole impression many hours before the other respectable rival prints. The accuracy and clearness of the impression will likewise excite attention. Till Parliament, therefore, shall be again assembled, there will exist no reason why the public in any part of the metropolis should wait for the The Times Journal longer than eight o'clock.

We should make no reflections upon those by whom this wonderful discovery has been opposed,—the doubters and unbelievers,―however uncharitable they may have been to us, were it not that the efforts of genius are always impeded by drivellers of this description; and that we owe it to such men as Mr. KŒNIG and his Friend, and all future promulgators of beneficial inventions, to warn them that they will have to contend with every thing that selfishness and conceited ignorance can devise or say; and if we cannot clear their way before them, we would at least give them notice to prepare a panoply against its dirt and filth.

There is another class of men from whom we receive dark and anonymous threats of vengeance, if we persevere in the use of this machine. These are the Pressmen. They well know, or at least should well know, that such menace is thrown away upon us. There is nothing that we will not do to assist and serve those whom we have discharged. They themselves see the greater rapidity and precision with which the paper is printed. What right have they to make us print it slower and worse for their supposed benefit? A little reflection, indeed, would shew them, that it is neither in their power nor in our’s to stop a discovery now made, if it is beneficial to mankind; or to force it down, if it is useless. They had better, therefore, acquiesce in a result which they cannot alter; more especially as there will still be employment enough for the old race of pressmen, before the new method obtains general use, and no new ones may be brought up to the business: but we caution them seriously against involving themselves and their families in ruin, by becoming amenable to the laws of their country. It has always been matter of great satisfaction to us to reflect, that we encountered and crushed one conspiracy: we should be sorry to find our work half done.

It is proper to undeceive the world in one particular; that is, as to the number of hands discharged. We, in fact, employ only eight fewer workmen than formerly; whereas more than three times that number have been engaged for a year and an half in building the machine.

The Leeds Intelligencer of 12th December 1814 quoted a recent edition the Stamford Mercury which revealed that the machine had cost The Times "upwards of £8,000", but that the newspaper had saved £25 per week for each 'pressman' it had replaced.

The König & Bauer company that the two inventors formed 3 years later still exists, & today their machines print most of the world's banknotes.

Wednesday 19 November 2014

19th November 1814: Joanna Southcott leaves directions as to what should happen if she dies

Saturday Evening, Nov 19, 1814.—Joanna sent for Dr. Reece, and gave him directions what he is to do; in case she should die, she wishes him to examine (open) her body, to ascertain the cause of her feelings for these last nine months. On the other hand, she puts her life into the hands of Mr. Wetherell to deliver her; if he wish for any assistance, it is her will, no one should be permitted to try a pain but Dr. Reece; and in case she should appear as dead for three or four days, that no force should be used to extricate the child, but to leave her according to the directions given by the Spirit to be kept as warm as possible till there is a visible change take place either in life, or that actual death has taken place to the full satisfaction of her friends.


The above was signed by Joanna Southcott in the presence of, and witnessed by Dr. Richard Reece, and four of her friends.

Tuesday 11 November 2014

11th November 1814: The Hosier William Woodcock reports to the Home Office about spies & informers amongst Framework-knitters & Luddites

Mansfield 11th November 1814.


Several months elapsed after your Communication of the eighteenth of February last before I could engage a fit Person to ascertain the facts pointed out in your Letter. I discovered that there was only one Society at mansfield and at length procured a Copy of their Rules which had no essential variance from the printed Rules of the Nottingham Societies before obtained by me I found also that the Society had ten pounds deposited in the mansfield Bank in the names of two of their numbers and that their Secretary had in his hands about six pounds more the six pounds has since been sent to two of the Societies at Nottingham and the mansfield numbers have divided the six Pounds amongst themselves at this time they were gradually putting [off] from the Society which has now altogether ceased to meet. The weekly Collection of money from the Journeyman (whether members or not of the Societies) is also discontinued.

In the year 1811 and man who had been guilty of many acts of framebreaking confessed those to me in order to procure his protection. I took his Confession before a magistrate and have ever since been in correspondence with him – finding that Nottingham and its immediate neighbourhood was likely to be the Scene of Depredation I recommended him to get better acquainted with the Framebreakers there which he did – but as he informed me that the Call made by these men on their Companions to the Commission of any mischief was frequently very sudden allowing no time to give me notice I made him known to Mr Coldham of Nottingham and am glad to find that he gave Mr Coldham notice of the late atrocity at New Basford when he was of the Party. I have seen this man a few days since – he says some of the Nottingham Framebreakers have proposed destroying Frames at Mansfield

I shall have notice of their Attempts and further Situation of the objectionable Frames I trust there will be little Chance of the Depredators escaping.

I am
Your most obedient humble Servant
Wm Woodcock

[To] J. Beckett Esq.

Wednesday 5 November 2014

5th November 1814: Joanna Southcott writes to the press to decry a hoax letter


The following letter appeared in the Observer of Sunday last, and made a considerable impression on the believers of Joanna's mission. It is however clear from the subsequent letters of Mrs. Southcott, which we also subjoin, that the letter purporting to be signed J. Towzer, is a complete forgery.

"Having been requested by Joanna to acknowledge her former wicked errors,—I have therefore, on the part of Joanna, respectfully and with sincere contrition to state, that for some considerable time past she has been in a state of delirium, but at length having become, as it were, herself again, being now calm and collected, and fearing that she is approaching to her latter end, hereby renounces all the wicked incantations of her former distempered brain; and she hopes that a generous public will forget the impositions and errors that she has of late endeavoured to impose upon their understanding. And she further hopes, that all good christians will not only forgive, but will fervently join in her prayers to the Almighty, for a forgiveness of her late blasphemous doctrines, and past sins.


To the Editor of the Morning Chronicle.

SIR,―As a point of common honesty I desire that you will insert this from me as a reparation for the injury intended against my character, by the infamous forgery which you suffered to be copied from The Observer into your paper of this day, signed "J. Towzer." the purport of which was, that I had authorized it to be drawn up, to acknowledge my having imposed upon the public, and that I now renounced the whole of my visitation. In all what I have done and published to the world my conscience accuses me of nothing to renounce, and therefore leaving my cause to God, who hath directed me in the course I have hitherto pursued, I shall persevere in that course, to the confusion of my enemies, who falsely accuse me of imposture and incantations, whereby they themselves become imposters and deceivers, to mislead the unwary.

As you, Mr Editor, were so ready to exult in the insertion of the article above mentioned, supposing, no doubt, that it was genuine, I rely upon your candour, with the same readiness to announce to the public how you were imposed upon by that vile forgery.


From the Leeds Mercury of Saturday 5th November 1814

Wednesday 29 October 2014

29th October 1814: The Nottingham solicitor, Louis Allsop, reports that he has entrapped Charles Sutton

29th Oct. 1814.—

My Lord.—

I entertain a strong hope, that my Letter to Mr. Addington will have rendered an explanation sufficiently Satisfactory, to induce your Lordship to think, that the paper purchased by Mr Cartledge, can be made legal Evidence; I have hitherto been unsuccessful in purchasing a paper, from Mr Sutton's Agents at Castle Donington & Loughborough; upon looking into the Question respecting the proof of the publishing &c in case of libel &c it occurred to me that I might still accomplish what We wanted through the Medium of the Stamp Distributor, Mr. George Smith; I accordingly applied to him, & learnt that Sutton was in arrears several Weeks & had not signed the papers for this period as required by the Act 38 Geo 3d c 78; I therefore consulted with Mr Smith, & we decided that his clerk, who was in the habit of getting the papers signed, should take such as remained unsigned, of which the paper of the 14th was one, to Sutton & procure his Signature thereto; this, after one or two attempts was accomplished; Sutton Signed the paper in Mr Smiths Clerks presence, & he immediately brought it back, with the others, to the office, where I was waiting for him, & in my presence, & without having parted with the possession, he wrote at the bottom of the Sheets close to Sutton’s Signature to the following effect—"28th Oct. 1814, saw Mr Charles Sutton sign this paper which he delivered to me immediately"

"Mr Shelton.—"

We sealed the paper up in a Cover, which Shelton & I signed. I now sincerely trust, We have him safe beyond all doubt. If your Lordship decides upon proceedings agt. Mr Sutton I trust your Lordship will excuse the Liberty I take in recommending your Lordship, to order the leading Counsel on the Circuit to be retained, & also in proper time to secure a Special Jury, & to have the Trial take place in the County & not in the Town of Nottm.—

I have [etc]
L Allsopp

[To] Lord Sidmouth

Tuesday 28 October 2014

28th October 1814: Louis Allsop outlines the lengths he has gone to, to entrap Charles Sutton

28th Oct. 1814.


From the Enquiries I had made, in consequence of your former Letter, I had every reason to believe that Sutton had no other paper of the 14th Inst, than the one he kept to be filed; he is not in the habit of printing off any more papers than are printed; because in consequence of your Letter of the 26th received Yesterday, I was determined to make an attempt upon Mr Sutton through the medium of one of his own party in politics, as the only chance, by putting him off his guard, of attempting particularly whether he had a paper left of the 14th Inst; I accordingly went to Mr Coldham who, You of course know is connected in politics with the men of this Town possessing the principles of the party, upon which this Paper affects to be conducted, & put the point to him, as a Matter of Duty he owed the public both as Town Clerk of this place & Secretary to the Association of the Hosiers, to procure me, from his own party, a person for the purpose, I could rely on; I was induced to do this, knowing Mr Coldham's Sentiments respecting this paper, & I think it is a duty I own that Gentleman to state that he entered into the matter most readily & cordially; he fixed upon a person, whom he could rely upon, a Man known to Sutton & me, he could not suspect, & I am sorry to say, my former Information was confirmed; Sutton has only the paper left which he keeps filed, & which he will not part with—I have written to a confidential person both at Derby & Leicester, to try to purchase one of these papers of Suttons Agents at both places & I obtained a confidential person to make the same attempts at Castle Donington & Loughborough; & you probably will think it worth while to make the same attempt in London; Taylor & Co. in Warwick Square, White & Co. in Fleet St. and, [illegible] inform You, [illegible], the Agents—with all due deference to the opinion expressed in your last letter, you must allow me to state that I still think the paper sent up may be proved; The person who purchased it is my chief and confidential clerk; he is in the habit of making his Initials, as often as his handwriting, in the margin of [books] and papers, where alterations [illegible] &c are made; he has also been in the habit of putting his Initials to paper at different times purchased of Sutton; he entertains not the least doubt but that he can be most particularly [illegible] to the paper, quite small as if his name had been written at full length, but to put this beyond all doubt, I will thank You to return me the paper, & I will then report to You most accurately what he says; I can rely upon him, & indeed [could] [much] in the habit of seeing him write, & of seeing his Initials that I have no doubt I can confirm, if necessary, his Testimony – I feel no doubt upon this Subject—

I have the Honor to be,
Yr most obed Svt
L Allsopp

[To] J. H. Addington Esq

Monday 27 October 2014

27th October 1814: The Home Secretary tells the Earl of Lonsdale of plans to break the Calico Printers Union



Richmond Park,
Octr. yr. 27th 1814.

My dear Lord,

I am much obliged to your Lordship for your letter of ye 25th – Of the Combination you mention I have long been apprized. Three active members of it were apprehended at Glasgow, about a month ago, thro’ the Vigilance and Activity of the Sheriff of Renfrew; and no doubt is entertained of their being convicted. Copies of the Papers found upon them were sent to me; &, by means of the Information thus afforded, very important Information has been obtained.

The immediate Object of the Combination, is to dictate the Rate of Wages; and it comprehends the Calico Printers, and Weavers, of Glasgow, Manchester, Blackburn, &c. & of Dublin. Persons of that Description at Carlisle are deeply engaged in it; & it is material that Great Caution should be observed in seeking for Information there, as the Excitement of Alarm would destroy the means, which we now possess of obtaining Intelligence from that quarter.―Nothing can be better arranged, than that the Information, procured by the Gentleman to whom your Lordship has adverted, should be transmitted to Sir James Graham, & by him forwarded to me.—

The Attorney General is out of Town; but the Solicitor General is to be at the Home Office tomorrow, as I wish to consult Him as to the Course to be pursued. I incline to think, but more Rope must be given: but I am satisfied, that, in the ensuing Session, the Interference of Parliament will be indispensably necessary.—

Believe me

[To] The Earl of Lonsdale
&c &c &c

Friday 24 October 2014

24th October 1814: The Nottinghamshire MP William Frank asks the Home Secretary to offer a reward for the attack on Thomas Garton

Kirklington near Southwell
October 24th 1814

My Lord

Your Lordship has no doubt heard of the Attack upon Mr. Gartons house at Basford near Nottingham

The account published in the Papers one of which I send, is I believe a fair statement. The Lord Lieutenant has with that Zeal & Liberality for which his Grace is so conspicuous desired a reward to any amount may be offered out of his private purse for the detection of the Offenders. I believe it will give great satisfaction to the magistrates and the Nottingham district if your Lordship should be Pleased that Government that Government should offer considerable Reward for the like desirable end

It is understood by the Chairman of the Nottingham Sessions that the watch & ward act has expired. I think your Lordship said that was not the Case

I intend to be in Town to meet the Parliament on the 8th of next month and shall do myself the honor to wait on you

I have [etc]
Frank Frank
MP for the County of Nottingham

24th October 1814: 19 year-old worker killed by machinery at Carr's gig-mill, Armley

The Saturday 29th October edition of the Leeds Mercury carried a report about an accident at a gig mill at Armley, near Leeds:

On Monday last, a most shocking accident occurred at the gig-mill of Mr. John Carr, at Armley. One of the straps by which motion is communicated to the gig engine having started from its proper situation, a young man of the name of Lee attempted to replace it, but in the effort his arm unfortunately became entangled in the straps and he was drawn among the machinery, and instantly killed; his body was mangled in a manner too horrid for description. He was an unmarried man, about 19 years of age, the only son of his mother, and she is a widow. On her mind this terrible catastrophe has produced a fatal effect, having completely disordered her intellect, and induced a state of absolute distraction. After this statement, it cannot be necessary to caution all those who may be employed about machinery to exercise an habitual care in avoiding all contact with it, and to refrain from attempting to correct any irregularities during the time that it is in motion, and still less can it be necessary to suggest to the proprietors of these and similar manufactories the moral obligation they are under of adopting every means which ingenuity can suggest, to lessen the danger attendant upon them, and thereby to diminish the frequency of these lamentable accidents. As the young man was generally respected in the situation of life in which he was placed, his funeral was attended by an unusual concourse of people, who appeared deeply impressed with feelings suitable to the melancholy occasion.

Thursday 23 October 2014

23rd October 1814: Aborted assassination attempt on an employee of Thomas Garton

On the evening of Sunday 23rd October 1814, a group of men approached the house of an employee of Thomas Garton, the man whose house had been attacked by Luddites 9 days before. The man lived at Lenton, and it is possible the group were trying to intimidate him into not giving evidence - a press report stated their object was to assassinate him.

Despite their number, they abandoned their object when they observed that a guard of some sort had been posted outside his home.

According to a press report, the unnamed man was sacked by Garton for fear that his presence as an employee would bring further vengeance.

Wednesday 22 October 2014

22nd October 1814: The Nottingham solicitor Louis Allsop reports on an attempt to obtain a copy of the Nottingham Review

22d Oct. 1814.

My Lord—

In consequence of Mr Addingtons letter received Yesterday I have employed a person, in whose discretion I could confide to purchase a paper of Mr Sutton the Printer &c of the Nottingham Review, but I am sorry to say, he has not been successful; so much has been said respecting the Paper in question, even, by those who are favorable to this man's Politics, & so general an opinion has been expressed, upon the Punishment he deserves that I am aware, he would be upon his Guard; & I accordingly employed a person, not likely to be suspected; & who enquired for the last five or six papers, in order to make up a Sett—The Paper I sent your Lordship is marked with the Initials of the person, whom I employed to purchase it, before he parted with it out of his possession; I can confide in him, & he can swear to the paper; Sutton has no suspicion; & I merely wished to keep him in the back ground, that Sutton might not know for what purpose he purchased his Paper, which I often employ to do; he is one of my Clerks—I take the liberty of transmitting to your Lordship this Weeks Paper, in which your Lordship will see the sort of apology which is made—As therefore we are not likely to obtain another paper from Sutton Your Lordship will please to give directions within that the Paper I transmitted to your Lordship shall be taken care of, or that the same shall be sent back to me, to be kept by the person, who is to prove purchasing thereof.

I have [etc]

L Allsopp

[To] Lord Sidmouth

22nd October 1814: The Town Clerk of Derby forwards a threatening letter to the Home Secretary

Derby 22d October 1814

My Lord!

I am directed by the Mayor and Magistrates of the Borough of Derby to transmit for your Lordship’s inspection, the inclosed Copy of a letter – the original of which (under the Derby post mark), was received by Mr. Beer the officer commanding at the Depot yesterday evening about six o'clock.—I am also to state – that although the Magistrates know not the exact degree of importance which ought to be attached to this notice – yet considering the recent occurrences of Nottingham – the slender guard at the depot (a Serjeant and Seven men) – and that the Arms &c of the Derby regiment of Local Militia – are in another, and not more secure, part of this Town – they feel it their duty not only to exert their own vigilance in order to guard against the unpleasant consequences, but also to make this communication to your Lordship.

I have [etc]
E Ward
Town Clerk of Derby

the Rt Honble
The Secy at State

22nd October 1814: Government reward notice for the attack on Thomas Garton

Whitehall, October 22, 1814.

Whereas it has been humbly represented to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, that on the evening of Friday the 14th day of this instant October, the house of Thomas Garton, situated at New Basford, in the county of Nottingham, was broken into by a number of armed men in disguise, for the purpose of murdering the said Thomas Garton; and whereas it hath been further represented to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, that the armed men in question, after forcing their way into the said Thomas Garton’s house, fired upon the constable and other persons therein assembled, by which firing John Kilby, of New Basford aforesaid, was killed, and ______ Garton, brother to the said Thomas Garton, and one of his men were wounded;

His Royal Highness, for the better apprehending and bringing to justice the perpetrators of this atrocious outrage and murder, is hereby pleased, in the name and on behalf of His Majesty, to promise His Majesty’s most gracious pardon to any one of them (except the person or persons who actually fired as aforesaid), who shall discover his or their accomplice or accomplices therein, so that he, she, or they may be apprehended and convicted thereof.


And, as a further encouragement, a reward of TWO HUNDRED POUNDS is hereby offered to ay person (except as is before excepted) who shall discover his, her, or their accomplice or accomplices therein, so that he, she, or they may be apprehended and convicted thereof, or to any person or persons who shall apprehend and bring the said offenders, or any of them, to conviction, or cause them or any of them so to be apprehended and convicted as aforesaid.―Such reward of two hundred pounds to be paid by the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty’s Treasury.

Tuesday 21 October 2014

21st October 1814: The owner of the Nottingham Review, Charles Sutton, apologises for the 'General Ludd' letter

The Nottingham Review of Friday 21st October 1814 contained a brief editorial by the owner, Charles Sutton, for the satirical 'General Ludd' letter published in the previous edition. Sutton was obviously already aware of the storm it had raised, but his apology would not draw a line under the affair:

The Proprietor of the NOTTINGHAM REVIEW, is exceedingly sorry to find that an article which appeared in his last Number has given disgust to some of his friends, who have conceived it as having a tendency to encourage the spirit of insubordination and outrage, which has been so long prevalent in this neighbourhood, and which no man laments more than himself. He will not multiply words upon the subject. He knows his own intentions, and he knows that nothing could possibly be further from his thoughts, either in that article or in any other, which at any time may have appeared in the Review.

21st October 1814: Joanna Southcott publishes an address to her followers

The Leeds Intelligencer of Monday 31st October 1814 published the following article about an address recently given by Joanna Southcott to her followers:


This bewildered or wicked woman has published the following Address to her friends:–

"Many of the Believers in my Visitation, as I have been informed, begin to grow impatient in their expectation, as to the marriage spoken of not having taken place, and published a long time before the child should be born; and seeing the harvest nearly ended, "they appear ready to sink in the great deep—the seas before them, and the Egyptian host behind them;" so that where is the promise of either the Marriage or the Child? will soon be the cry of the public; and the believers themselves will be ready to say—‘the harvest is over; the day is ended; and we are not saved.’―From this I see clearly that my enemies would soon boast and triumph, while the Believers would be ready to sink in despair, if the way they are stumbled in remained without being answered and explained. In order, therefore, to give away such a state of mind in the Believers, I take this opportunity of informing them, that when the marriage was first mentioned to me, it was before I had any knowledge of what would follow; I was warned that a private marriage would first take place in my own house, which afterwards was to be granted to be realized in public.

"This circumstance stumbled me, and also my friends, who were made acquainted with it, because at that time there appeared no necessity for such a private marriage to take place in haste; but now I see cause enough, from the dangers which begin to appear; so that, from my present situation, and my own feelings, I can judge the truth of the words that are already in print. For, if there be ‘no Son’, there will be ‘no adopted Father,’ and no marriage to be binding: because it will be but a temporary marriage, from which death must soon release me. But who the bridegroom is must not be publicly made known, after the marriage hath taken place, until the child be born. Thus, taking the whole into consideration, it is clear to me that the marriage and the birth of the child may, and will, most likely take place within, perhaps, less than a day the one before the other; therefore the Believers may from this hint be able to form a correct judgment, and check their impatience, so as not to look for the Sixth Book immediately after the marriage shall have taken place; but that the Sixth and Seventh Books, to complete the wonders, as before said, will be in order, and in right time, both after the birth of the child shall have taken place.


October 21, 1814.

Monday 20 October 2014

20th October 1814: The Solicitor General gives an initial legal opinion on prosecuting Charles Sutton

My Lord;

I regret much that I was in London when your Lordship did me the honor to call at Wimbledon. I perused the mischievous and wicked letter, and I think it is the Subject of prosecution particularly the letter part which states that the outrages at Nottingham are not so bad as the proceedings of his Majesty’s Troops at Washington; I can assimilate this to the libel published by Horne Took in the beginning of the american War, in which he stated that the americans had been murder’d by the King’s Troops, there was no doubt that this was libellous tho’ I think speaking from Recollection there were some Error in some part of that Indictment which precur’d a reversal of the Judgement in the house of Lords. I write only from Recollection but will to morrow look for the Case. I am to be in town to morrow to meet the Attorney General and will shown the paper my present notion is that the printer and publisher should be prosecuted. If it is wished in the [extent] as tending to encourage the thoughtless and deluded who cannot think or reason for themselves. these are my first impressions I know your Lordship will not be offended if on maturer consideration of my own or of others such impression should be altered—

I have [etc]
Saml Shepherd

Thursday octr 20. 1814

[To Lord Sidmouth]

Sunday 19 October 2014

19th October 1814: The Home Secretary requests a legal opinion about the prosecution of Charles Sutton

Richmond Park
Octr 19th 1814

Dear Sir,

I herewith inclose a Letter from a very intelligent, and most well disposed Gentleman in Nottingham, and the Newspaper to which he refers.—"The melancholy Business" to which Mr. A alludes, as having taken Place immediately after the Publication of this Paper, was a most [flagrant] Outrage, which had murder for it’s Object; and which occasioned the Death of a very respectable man (not the obnoxious Person) who was shot.—A principal leader of the Assailants was shot by one of the Constables, who behaved with great Spirit.

The Conviction, and Punishment of the Printer, or Publisher of the most obnoxious Paper would, I have no doubt produce the best Effect: how far that is likely to be accomplish’d by a Prosecution for the Letter in Question, you will judge, and I shall of course be govern’d by your Opinion.

I am, &c

P.S. The Promptitude, with which you were so good as to prepare your Report upon the papers, realting to Gloster Jail, enabled me to send them to Bathurst on Saturday. He is perfectly satisfied with your Report—The Gloster Sessions commenced Yesterday

[To] The Solicitor General

19th October 1814: George Coldham suggests that the government offers a reward for information about the attack on Garton

My Lord

On the part of the Secret Committee to whom I have the honor to be Secretary, I am desired to request that your Lordship will have the goodness to direct the immediate attention of the Government of the Prince Regent to the dreadful nature of the late Attack upon Thomas Garton with a deliberate and determined purpose to murder him and the cruel and wicked sacrifice of the life of John Kilby upon the same Occasion.—This Committee are determined to Reward the Constables engaged in this Service in the most liberal manner, they have directed me to give a most liberal Reward to the person from whom I derived my information.—Thomas Garton and his family must the present rest entirely upon them for support, and I calculate their immediate expences occasioned by these combined circumstances to exceed very much the sum of £100.—Under these circumstances, the Secret Committee feel themselves fully warranted to solicit from his Lordship and his Majesty's Government that they would be pleased to offer a reward of £200 or such further Reward as they may judge expedient to any person or persons who may give information of the persons who committed this murder or who were engaged in the Attack upon Mr. Garton’s house whether with the intention of murdering Mr. Garton or of breaking the Frames in his house and offering Pardon to any one or more of accomplices who may be disposed to give evidence against the principals concerned therein if such offer can be made consistently with the forms of Law and the course of conduct usual on such occasions.—The Secret Committee hope your Lordship will deem it no more than proper that under the peculiar circumstances of this Case these Rewards should be offered not only in the name but actually with the intention of being paid by his Majesty's Government.—The Secret Committee have already independent of the expences arising out of the present circumstances, expanding a much more considerable sum in the course of the execution of the duties entrusted to them and their Constituents and they have now the charge of two very heavy Prosecutions at the Assizes which must occasion a further expenditure to a very considerable extent.—I take the liberty of stating to your Lordship that the propriety of offering a Reward must be in a great measure determined by a view to the circumstances in which the Secret Committee is placed, and that it appears to me to be essential that it should be done quite independent of the expectation of any future good to arise out of it, because if worded judiciously it seems to me, that it would Operate as a Shield to our Informant which is admirably calculated admirably calculated to protect him from Suspicion whether the Eyes of these miscreants be fixed upon him with relation to the Past or the future.—I shall hope to hear your Lordship’s sentiments on this subject in order that I may as soon as possible communicate them to the Secret Committee for their Government.—

I am [etc]

Geo Coldham Ssecretary—

19 Octr 1814

[To] The Rt Honble Lord Sidmouth.

Friday 17 October 2014

17th October 1814: Threatening letter from 'Ned Lud' at Basford to William Beer at Derby

Mr  We want som Bol
Cartig an Sum Harms, You
May expect us very soon

Ned Lud

Oct 17 – 1814

Directed thus

Mr Bare

Thursday 16 October 2014

16th October 1814: George Coldham relates the circumstances of the attack on Thomas Garton to the Home Secretary

Nottingham 16 October 1814

My Lord,

After the Perusal of my Letter the written by Desire of the Magistrates of yesterday you will be aware of the general Bearing of the circumstances relating to the Attack upon Thomas Garton’s House but I thought it due to myself & your Lordship to explain a little more fully than I could even to the Magistrates, the peculiar Situation in which I was placed & the nature of the Information under which I acted. On Thursday Afternoon I received Information that on Sunday it was the Intention of a Band of the Luddites to assemble for the purpose of Destroying Thomas Garton. I received this Information from one was to be of the Party & who was in the confidence of the Leaders of the Plot. By Friday Morning I sent for Garton & his Brother & arranged with them that Thomas Garton should leave his own House & be placed in a State of Safety on Saturday Morning & that then we should concert measures for the Security of the House & if (as I was given to understand we should) we had previous Notice of the time of the Attack for the apprehension of the Assailants. On Friday at ½ past 6 OClock in the Afternoon I was given to understand the same that it had been that moment settled by this Band of Scoundrels that the Attack should be made at 8 OClock that as soon as ever they could arm themselves & proceed to the place. I immediately proceeded to the Police Office & ordered my Clerk to assemble the most confidential of our Constables & instantly went myself to the Commanding Officer in the Town & being cloathed with authority from both the Town & County Magistrates I required of him a Guard to proceed instantly to Thomas Garton’s House & bring him in Safety away. It was now nearly 7 oClock the Officer Declared that the Discipline of the Regiment did not permit of his Doing so & that he must & could only refer me to Colonel Mudie at the Barracks which be about ½ a Mile or more from the Town. To Colonel Mudie I proceeded all along [impressed] with the Idea that the Man must be taken away by 8 oClock or he would be Destroyed imagining very difficult to have a force assembled in the House competent to meet the Attack by that time Basford being about two Miles off. I not with considerable Difficulty in persuaded or Directing Colonel Mudie to furnish me with a Guard but after some time I procured six Men & standing by all the time to see & urge their Dispatch at about half Seven they were sent off & returned the some time afterd with Garton safe to the Police Office. In the mean time my Clerk had applied to Mr Ashwell our Mayor who with all the promptitude which distinguishes his Judgement sent off his own Secretary as a Messenger in the manner Described in my more publick Letters. As soon as I returned to the Police Office we were diligently employed in Dispatching our Constables well armed to Thomas Garton’s House. We had scarcely done this effectually ere we learnt from our Constables Barnet & Griffin that the Attack had been made & then the Magistrates Dispatched another party of Dragoons to the Assistance of the Person stationed at Basford & if possible to apprehend the Assailants. The Depositions shew your Lordship the result. I have received full Instructions from the Society of which I am Secretary to reward handsomely the Constables our Informant & all the parties operating to those measures which however it may be lamented they have not been more effectual in producing the Convictions of some of the Confederates have saved an important & valuable Life & we will hope by the Destruction of one of the most active of these Miscreants in the very Attempt at Murder will operate an important Lesson in deterring from similar Attempts in future.

I have [etc]

Geo Coldham Town Clerk

[To Lord Sidmouth]

16th October 1814: The Nottingham Solcitor, Louis Allsop, calls for the prosecution of the owner of the Nottingham Review

16. Oct. 1814

My Lord,

Mr Coldham, I understand, has communicated to your Lordship, the Affair which has taken place in this neighbourhood on Sunday Evening last, which, he is much better enabled to do with accuracy than I possibly can. My object in addressing your Lordship is to request your Lordship's Attention to a letter signed "General Ludd" in the Nottingham Review of this Week, which paper is transmitted herewith; Your Lordship will recollect that I have before stated the great mischief this paper had done in the course of the unfortunate proceedings in this County by the insidious Encouragement it has held out to those Wretches & most particularly on the former occasion of a Man being shot at Bulwell—This letter has given general dissatisfaction by appearing immediately before the Commission of this last melancholy business presents a good opportunity, (in case it shd be considered of such a tendency so to render the Printer & Publisher amenable to the Laws) of taking such a Step—It is much highly desireable that this man should be punished; the [leading] Mischief of this Letter I need not point out to your Lordship, it is deserving of your Lordships consideration, to direct the proper opinions to be taken, whether under the present Circumstances of this part of the Country such a Letter has not a Tendency to encourage the proceedings of the Luddites & consequently such an offence as can be made amenable to the Laws. The paper sent herewith is marked by the person I sent to purchase it, but in case your Lordship should think it proper to commence any proceedings, I had better receive directions in the regular Way to purchase another paper as that will appear better on the Trial, than purchasing one in the way I directed this to be done, which I did as a matter of Precaution, in case we are not able to get one afterwards

Your Lordship may command my Services in any Way you may direct & I have the Honor to be

my Lord,
with great Respect
your Lordships
most obed Servt

L Allsopp

[To] Lord Simouth

Wednesday 15 October 2014

15th October 1814: George Coldham informs the Home Secretary about the attempt on Thomas Garton's life

My Lord,

I am desired by the Magistrates of the Town of Nottingham to refer your Lordship to the former communications, made to you on the part of the Mayor and Aldermen for their Opinion of the extent and danger of that extensive Conspiracy existing amongst the Framework knitters of this District, in order, for the destruction of the Frames the property of their masters and other acts of violence to controul the management of the Trade and dictate the amount of the wages to be paid to the labouring hand.—The system of Framebreaking had almost entirely subsided until about June last when several Frames were broken and amongst the rest some Frames at the house of Thomas Garton of Basford were destroyed the house being violently and burglariously broken into by several persons amongst whom one James Towle was recognized by Thomas Garton and upon his Testimony he was committed for trial at the Assizes.—This circumstance has excited much terror amongst the active members of the Combination they imagining that the case would reach the life of James Towle and they have ever since vowed Vengeance upon Thomas Garton.—Several circumstances have lately occurred to induce a belief that plans have been in agitation to destroy Thomas Garton on the part of those who were possessed of the means of confidential a Information in consequence of the Society lately instituted by the Hosiers.—Last night information was obtained that this intention was about to have been executed at or about 8 oClock.—In consequence of having been specially authorized by both the Town and County Magistrates upon all urgent occasions to command in their name the application of a portion of the Military force of the District to the emergency of the moment, I, immediately dispatched under the directions of one of the Constables of the Town who had been sworn in a Peace Officer at the County a Military Guard who brought Thomas Garton away from his house and disposed of him in safety in the Town.—Whilst a party of the Constables of the Town of Nottingham were dispatched to Mr. Garton’s home at Basford, to keep Guard there—At the time I set off to solicit the aid of Colonell Mudie at the Barracks a Messenger was dispatched to Mr. Thomas Garton who reached him previous even to the Military escort from the Barracks, and afterwards proceeded to his brother's house who lived a mile and a half further distant and brought him to the assistance of Thomas Garton’s house and property.—

The Copies of the Depositions which accompany this letter it is hoped will furnish a full detail of the events which occurred at Thomas Garton's house from the time he left it till the morning when the Constables returned home.—It appears from that Detail at about half past 9 o’Clock the house was attacked and entered by force by the foremost of a Band from 7 to 10 men armed with Swords and Pistols.—The leader of this set of Ruffians brandished a Pistol and called out where is he, and several of these men actually let fired their Pistols upon which a Volley was fired from the Constables and persons stationed in the House by which a man of the name of Bamford a very notorious Framebreaker supposed to have been engaged in the first Outrage at Gartonls house was killed and two or three more were wounded, and unfortunately nearly at the same time a most respectable man and a near neighbour at whose house the wife of Garton had sought refuge was killed by a Pistol Shot from the Assailants The man still threaten vengeance upon their Opponents.—The Magistrates of the County and the Town under these circumstances, feel themselves under the absolute necessity of requesting that a portion of Infantry not less than 200 in number may be immediately stationed in the Town to enable them to meet with promptitude such Outrages as may be in future planned by these desperadoes.—This request has once before been made to your Lordship as Secretary of State of the Home Department, and altho’ the Magistrates have felt every anxiety to accommodate themselves as much as possible to the exigencies of the State, Experience has shewn that the system of lawless violence here in operation cannot be properly and effectually opposed without a competent force of Infantry.—From private Information upon which we can depend it appears to be a fact, that the attack upon Thomas Garton's house was made with a deliberate intention to commit murder and there is too much reason to fear that the present system of the Desperadoes who still adhere to the Conspirators is to keep a system of terror by taking the lives of those most obnoxious to them or necessary to secure the Lives of their Associates in Crime.—

I have [etc]

Geo Coldham
Town Clerk

15th Octr. 1814.

[To: Lord Sidmouth]

15th October 1814: Nottingham magistrates inform the Home Secretary of recent events and requests troops

Nottingham 15th October 1814

My Lord

The Magistrates of the County of Nottingham have for some time had great reason to believe that there is an organized system and combination amongst the Manufacturers and others of this County, and of the Town of Nottingham, for the Committing of the most violent outrages against the Public Peace. A person of the name of Towle is now confined in the County Gaol for breaking into a House with others, in the month of September last, to destroy Stocking Frames in the House of Thomas Garton of Basford near Nottm.—Towle is Committed on the testimony of Garton, who has been threatened with revenge and was alarmed lest he should be murdered to prevent his testimony.

The Town Clerk of Nottm it is understood will inclose to your Lordship, by this Post, Copies of Depositions which will inform your Lordship what happened last Night, and the Magistrates are strongly of Opinion that they will not be able to maintain the Peace of the County by the Civil Power alone.

The Commanding Officer of the Cavalry stationed near Nottm being averse to his Men being separated from their Horses or acting dismounted. We as Magistrates of the County have to request that your Lordship will have the goodness to give directions that a competent force of Infantry perhaps not fewer than 200, may be sent to Nottm as early as possible to be distributed in such Villages as the Magistrates shall direct.

We have [etc]

Charles Wilde
Fran. Evans
John Kirkby
John Longden

[To: Lord Sidmouth]

Tuesday 14 October 2014

14th October 1814: Armed attack on the home of Thomas Garton leaves a Luddite and bystander dead

The home of Thomas Garton had been raided, and six knitting frames had been destroyed, on 4th September 1814. Shortly afterwards, a framework-knitter called James Towle had been arrested and placed in custody awaiting trial following Garton identifying him as was one of the Luddites involved in the raid.

Since that time, Garton's life has been threatened. The Town Clerk, George Coldham, had an informant involved with the Luddites, and he had been alerted by this person on Thursday 13th October that an attack on Garton's home would take place on Sunday 16th, with a view to killing him to prevent evidence being given against Towle at his trial. On Friday morning, Coldham summoned Thomas Garton and his brother and explained to them what he knew. He suggested that Garton should be moved to a safehouse on Saturday morning and measures taken to secure the house with a view to arresting any attackers.

But Coldham received more news from the informant at 6.30 p.m. on Friday 14th that the attack on Garton's home had been brought forward to 8.00 p.m. that evening. Coldham wasted no time and dispatched a constable to move Garton to safety at the Police Office in Nottingham, as well as other constables to go to Garton's house and another to alert Garton's brother to come to his aid.

Constables Benjamin Hall and John Flude arrived at Garton's house at 7.30 p.m. Three of Garton's journeymen and 2 apprentices were there, one of them armed with a stick, the rest unarmed. Shortly, 4 more constables from Nottingham arrived, armed with cutlasses and guns. Finally, Garton's brother and his son and two servants arrived, bringing more weapons.

After 2 hours, nothing had happened, and two constables - Griffin and Barnes - were dispatched to fetch some food and drink.

But within 10 minutes, those inside heard what sounded like a hammer banging on the front door of the house, and voices could be heard in the passageway at the side of the house - someone later estimated 10 men were outside. The door being forced open, 3 men rushed in, with one of them calling out "damn him! where is he? where is he?" - this was followed by 3 or 4 shots being fired into the house by the intruders. The force of the shots was so great that soot fell from the chimney, almost putting out the fire in the hearth in the parlour, with candles going out. One constables said "be steady lads, give them a volley" and the constables returned fire - one of the intruders dropped to the ground, and others fell outside in the passageway. All was then quiet.

However, the noise and commotion had excited interest elsewhere. A neighbour of Garton came to his front door, but was swore at and threatened by a man who threatened to 'blow his brains out'. Mrs Garton was at the house of a neighbour, William Kilby, who lived only 30 yards from Garton's. Mrs Garton had heard the noise and became alarmed - Kilby rushed out to his door, but was hit by  a bullet from a gun. He fell down dead. Later reports accused the Luddites of killing Kilby, but one constable present - Robert Lineker - later gave a statement which clearly stated Kilby was shot at the time they returned fire - it was possible, but not acknowledged, that a stray shot aimed at the Luddites had killed him.

The constables in the house expected another attack to be made and set about reloading their weapons. A light was found, and it was then clear the intruder that had fallen was dead - his head being shattered by shots. No trace of any remaining intruders could be found, but it was apparent that Garton's brother was injured in one hand, and one of the men he had brought had minor wounds in his stomach. Mrs Garton then arrived and told the constables what had happened outside.

An hour passed without incident, and the two constables that had left returned, bringing with them six dragoons. The whole group didn't leave until it was almost dawn.

The raiders had escaped into the night. The raider who was killed in Garton's house was later identified as Samuel Bamford, originally from Basford, but latterly living in Nottingham.

Wednesday 8 October 2014

8th October 1814: Joanna Southcott's Accouchement

The Leeds Mercury of Saturday 8th October 1814 re-published news about the expected birth of Shiloh to Joanna Southcott:


From the Sunday Monitor, October 6.

The Accouchment.—We understand the house for Mrs. Southcott’s accouchment is not finally determined upon, but in all probability it will be tomorrow or Tuesday. As soon as that takes place, Dr. Reece, Dr. Sims, and the other medical gentleman will have immediate notice, that they may be present agreeably to their promise. The heads of the Church will also be invited, either personally to be present, or to send their physicians. The accouchment is expected to take place on the 10th or 12th of this month. Mr. Wetherell, surgeon, of Highgate, is to be the accoucheur. Mr. Phillips is in daily attendance. Her general health is lately much improved.

The Bible.—A short time since it was announced that a superb bible was binding, to be presented to the forthcoming infant of Mrs. Southcott. Yesterday, we had an opportunity of seeing it in its finished state, at the binder’s, in Nelson-street, City-road, and a more elegant and complete piece of workmanship has certainly never been executed. It does greater credit to the talents, skill, and judgement of the binder; and no pains or expense have been spared to render it the most complete and beautiful bound book ever produced.

Johanna Southcott’s doctrine.—The following has been handed to us, as a farther illustration of the tenets of Johanna:—

That the child is the third person in the Trinity that is to be born of her, (making up Father, Son, and Holy Ghost). That our Saviour was the Foot, that is the Branch; that this child is to sit on the throne of David, in all the pomp of an earthly King, until the end of the world; that through him the Jews are to recover their former kingdom, and that the Turks are to be driven from the Holy Land and destroyed; and that the kingdom of the Jews restored, to last till the Day of Judgment.

Sunday 5 October 2014

5th October 1814: Letter from 'General Ludd' to 'the Editor of the Nottingham Review'



Sir—I take the liberty of dropping you a few lines to inform you of the good fortune of one of my sons, who is come to very high honor. You must know that some time ago, owing to a little imprudent conduct, my eldest son, NED, decamped, and enlisted into his Majesty’s service, and as he was notorious for heroism and honorable enterprize, he was entrusted with a commission to exercise his prowess against the Americans, and I am happy to say he has acquitted himself in a way which will establish his fame to generations yet unborn.

I assure you, Mr. Editor, I scarcely know how to keep my feeling within bounds, for while all our former and united efforts in breaking frames, &c, were commented upon with some severity, and in a way which cast an odium upon my character and that of my family, I now find the scales are turned, and our enemies are converted into friends; they sing a new tune to an old song, and the mighty deeds of my son are trumpeted forth in every loyal paper in the kingdom. My son is not now confined to the breaking of a few frames, having the sanction of government, he can now not only wield his great hammer to break printing presses and types, but he has a licence to set fire to places and property which he deems obnoxious, and now and then even a little private pillage is winked at. Even the GAZETTE EDITOR at Mr. Tupman's who was formerly one of my greatest enemies, and threatened to pursue both me and my family to the uttermost, is now in my favor, and is to become a patron, and an admirer of my son, on account of his achievements in Washington. There is one thing though in the conduct of this Gentleman which has created me some little uneasiness; a few weeks ago he strongly recommended to the magistrates to offer a very large reward, to any person who would disclose our secret system of operation in this neighbourhood: he went so far as to say 5000l. ought to be offered; enough he said to enable the informer to live independent in another country, intimating such a character would not be considered as a proper person for the society of this country, and therefore he would emigrate to seek other associates. I hope it is not true that this notorious Editor has any secrets to disclose about me and my family, and that he is waiting for this large reward to be offered, that he may avail himself of such an opportunity of making his fortune, and fleeing his country. Now, I really think, as my son has become truly loyal, and is working for his country's good, and all under the sanction of the Crown, and as his achievements have been of the first rate, "old grievances ought not to be repeated;" though, bye the bye, I am of opinion that all which I and my son have done in Nottingham and neighbourhood, is not half so bad as what my son has done in America; but then you know he has supreme orders, from indisputable authority, for his operations in America, and that makes all the difference.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

Ludd Hall, October 5, 1814.

Saturday 27 September 2014

27th September 1814: The Home Secretary tells the Duke of Montrose to not encourage rewards for service

Had Captain Francis Raynes been aware of this letter from the Home Secretary to his commanding officer, his heart would have sunk: the government was already discouraging rewards and recognition for those who had served it faithfully during the Luddite disturbances.

Whitehall [illegible]
Septemr 27: 1814—

My Lord,

Upon my Return from Devonshire, I was honored with your Grace’s Letter of the 7th of Septr, with two Enclosures, consisting of a Letter, & memorial from Captain Peter Macdougal, of the Stirlingshire Regiment of Militia – And I am extremely sorry to be under the Necessity of stating to your Grace my opinion that it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to give effect to Capt. Macdougal Representation.—The Account for the Service in question has been very long since closed, and to open it again would be to afford Encouragement to others to prefer similar Applications, which could not fail to lead to Inconvenience, and Embarrassment, and which, if made at all, ought to have been brought forward at a much earlier Period after the Services had been performed.—

S. [i.e. Lord Sidmouth]

[To] His G.
The D of Montrose

Wednesday 10 September 2014

10th September 1814: Letters to the press about Joanna Southcott's 'pregnancy'

Both of these letters appeared in the Leeds Mercury of Saturday 10th September 1814, in a column entitled 'Extracted from the Courier':


TO THE EDITOR.—SIR,—Several persons having expressed a wish that I should visit Joanna Southcott, that they might be better satisfied what foundation there was for a report that she was pregnant, I consented to accompany one of her friends, a surgeon and accoucheur of experience, for that purpose, on the 18th of August. He informed me on my way thither, that the most satisfactory examination would not be permitted, but that it was not at all necessary, as no professional man could have any doubt of her situation, upon seeing the state of her breasts.

Their appearance gave no reason to doubt the truth of her statement, that she was in her 65th year, and that certain natural effects had ceased since she was 48; circumstances under which her pregnancy was naturally incredible, and were it real, might well enough have induced a belief that it was supernatural.

I endeavoured, however, not to prejudge the case, but to form and my opinion of her situation from the symptoms alone, as I should have done had she been only 45 years of age, and therefore within the period of probable pregnancy.

After a minute statement of particulars of his examination of the woman, the writer concludes thus:—

Considering all the above appearances, I did not hesitate to declare it to be my opinion, that Joanna Southcott was not pregnant, but I was told that I was the first medical man that had seen her, who was not perfectly satisfied of the contrary.

I believe that her uterine organs are diseased, and that the breasts, as is usual, sympathising with those parts, have an increased quantity of blood determined to them. Had I thought the external appearances such as ought to lead to a belief in her pregnancy, I should have urged the propriety of submitting to a more satisfactory examination; but feeding, as I did, a perfect conviction that she was not with child, it seemed to me unnecessary to insist upon any further enquiry.

Having observed in the newspapers, that assertions are repeatedly made, the eminent accoucheurs have declared this woman to be pregnant, I am desirous not to be reckoned of that number. Yet, before I conclude, I feel right to say that I am convinced that this poor woman is no imposter, but that she labours under a strong mental delusion.


Sept. 3, 1814.


SIR,—In a Morning Paper the 30th ult. a Medical Gentleman, the signature of J. C. H., states, that "he should not be doing his duty to those poor deluded people, who are in the belief of John Southcott, and the public at large, were he not, after having an opportunity of seeing her, to state the result of such a visit." He then complains "of an imposition that was tried to be practised on him; or rather a trap, in which he had like to have been caught." This trap, it seems, was a request made by Joanna Southcott, that in giving his opinion, he should consider her a married woman of 24 years of age, and divest his mind of all prejudice respecting her inspiration. Now, Sir, I should suppose that a Medical Man employed on such an occasion, would pay no attention whatever to the statement of a woman, who was represented in all the Journals to be an impostor: one would suppose that he would have attended to those symptoms only, the existence of which he had an opportunity to ascertain. Mr. J. C. H. who I understand is Mr. Hobday, of Ratcliffe Highway, was allowed to make the same examination as was afforded to the other Medical Gentlemen who attended her, on which he has thought proper to be silent. Joanna Southcott, I find, was examined by nine medical practitioners of some eminence in London, six of whom pronounced her to be pregnant, and the other three declined to give a decided opinion, principally on account of her age. [Here the writer enters into some particulars which it is not necessary for us to repeat. He concludes thus:]

As the medical men who have attended Joanna Southcott, has to be apprised of her labour when it takes place, I hope they will all attend. Indeed, so far from being her wish to have it conducted privately, I know that applications have been made to the Archbishop of Canterbury, to appoint a person to attend her accouchment, and to procure for her a suitable apartment, which his Grace has refused to do, under the idea that such a measure would tend to confirm her followers in the belief of her inspiration. The pregnancy of a woman in the 65th year of her age, is in modern times a novel occurrence, and deserves to be recorded. With respect to the operation of the law, I consider it worthy of notice, causes having been determined in the House of Lords against claimants born in foreign countries, on the presumption that their mothers were at the time of their birth, too far advanced in life to bear children, although one (Lady Jane Grey) was about ten years younger than Joanna Southcott. If then, in this point of view, the case of Joanna Southcott be interesting, it is of great consequence that its authenticity should not be called in question at any future period. For the purpose of avoiding deception, and any ground for suspicion or misrepresentation, might not he Lord Chancellor with great propriety, take her under his protection, place her in decent apartments, and appoint accoucheurs of experience and respectability to attend her? Such an interference could not possibly be considered by her followers as in any degree countenancing the marvellous part of the business. Of this plan, I understand her followers, and I think I may say the public in general, would approve.

I am Sir, your obedient servant,


171, Picadilly, Sept. 2, 1814.