Thursday 26 June 2014

26th June 1814: Percy Shelley & Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin meet in St Pancras Churchyard

In the evening of Sunday 26th June 1814, the poet Percy Shelley met his lover, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin at the grave of Mary's mother, Mary Wollstonecraft in St Pancras churchyard, London. Although this location had become a regular meeting place, it was most likely this night that Mary declared her love for Shelley, and according to their journal entries, that they first made love, despite being chaperoned by Mary's half-sister, Claire Clairmont.

Saturday 21 June 2014

21st June 1814: George Coldham updates the Home Office on strike action taken against Hosiers

Private & Confidential

Nottingham June 21st 1814

Dear Sir,

Ever since about the 26th of April the Effects of the Combination have been directed against the House of I & George Ray of this place who are Manufacturers of plain Silk Goods to a very great Extent but Manufacturers whom the Combination have thought most particularly assailable by them because they are not correspondent to the extent of their Business Proprietors of Frames but manufacture their Goods from what I hear called independent Frames. Such Persons are therefore at all times more dependent than the Owners of Frames upon the Master & Journeymen [Framework knitters]. The Blow which has been struck by the Combination upon this House is a very heavy one for it has reached to deprive them of the work of between 2 & 300 Hands. Messrs Ray were fully aware of the nature of their Situation & Mr John Ray the Partner here to whom the management of the Business of the Manufactory is almost exclusively confided was very much disposed to give the advanced Price demanded by the Combination with a view to prevent the temporary derangement of their Business. It was however very important to the Secret Committee & the Great Body of the Trade not only ultimately to frustrate the plans of the Combination but to prevent if possible [thus] succeeding in them as connected with the House of Messrs Ray. With this view I have been in constant communication & Treaty with Mr John Ray from the 24th of May to the present moment. There was considerable difficulties in the way of this arrangement. The Bulk of the Hosiers possess very considerable property in Frames & thro’ them contrive to acquire the entire Controul over their Workmen—perhaps the most effectual manner in which the Combination could coerce them was their former manner of carrying on War by destroying their Frames. Mr Ray however was not acceptable to this mode of attack, but that he was still more assailable by the System upon which they acted against him. They applied to the Workmen employed by him & they engaged these to leave off working to him unless he should advance their wages & to induce them to do this they undertook to pay their weekly wages for being idle or to employ them in preferring the Business of the Combination. Messrs Ray were not at all insensible to the Extent of the Value of their Opposition to the demands of the Workmen, to the rest of the Trade & indeed it is but Justice to them to admit that the consciousness of the in peculiar Situation with their Workmen had placed them in a very unpleasant predicament in this respect for Messrs Ray had proceeded in consequence of an Engagement as I believe with their Workmen to [date], the very advance which the Combination demanded & which the great Body of the Trade had referred to grant to the Frameworknitters. Mr John Ray therefore required of the secret Committee & the rest of the Trade that they should state these facts to the Publick in the manner more calculated to vindicate Messrs Ray & show the peculiar Ingratitude of the Attack of the Combinations as directed against those who had been the best Friends of the Workmen. This however the Secret Committee positively refused doing because they felt that it endangered the transferring the whole [Policy] of the refusal from Messrs Ray upon the rest of the Trade because it seemed in some degree to countenance the propriety of the advance demanded & because they were of opinion that they were other parts of the Conduct of Messrs Ray's Conduct to their Workmen which would admit of the Trade identifying themselves with the defence of their general Conduct to their workmen. In the difficulty which these clashing Opinions produced the Secret Committee appealed to a still larger Body of the Trade than themselves—& communicated from them to him a full & complete Vindication of the Conduct which the Secret Committee proposed to adopt. I had given up the whole arrangement for lost when on 16th of June I was fortunate enough with the Concurrence of the Secret Committee to come to an entire understanding with Mr John Ray effected I have little doubt in consequence of the sincere & zealous Cooperation received from the Committee in London. This agreement produced the printed Address from the Secret Committee which I inclose & it has also produced an Order from Mr Ray to his Warehouseman to give Evidence against some of the leading Master Frameworknitters with a view to the reaching thro’ them some of the most open reprehensible of the Workmen engaged in this Conspiracy not without since Hopes thro’ them of reaching some of the principal Actors in the Combination. This has only been done yesterday but I shall proceed without loss of time to try our legal Strength upon the Evidence by an Appeal to the Magistrates. In the mean time the support of the Combination by the great Body of the Trade seems evidently upon the decay for this Week there have been forced by their necessities to make their Collections in the Town & Country by 8 or 10 of the Hands who have used Threats to induce the Frameworknitters to keep up their usual Contributions. We had prepared a Hand Bill to set this matter a rest but upon a perfect knowledge of the manner in which the Pulse of the People beats the Secret Committee have adjourned the commencement of this Attack upon this part of the System of the Confederacy until Friday next I hope to obtain the Cooperation of the Magistrs to the same points & it will appear at the very same time when the Combination will also be attacked thro’ the medium of the Conviction of some of their Abetters either for neglecting their work or for being otherwise engaged in the Combination. In the mean time the Secret Committee are extremely impatient that they have learn’d no tidings of a Communication made by them very early indeed after their appointment to the Committee in London with a view to its being transmitted to Lord Sidmouth which communication contained some Hints of what they were of Opinion would be the best means of giving general legislative Relief from the dreadful Effects of such extensive Combination as the present. They would also be happy to hear from you as to the probable Period at which they might expect the disbanding of the Nottm Leicester & Derbyshire Regiments of Militia.

I am [etc]
Geo Coldham

[To] John Beckett Esqr

Monday 16 June 2014

16th June 1814: A member of the Framework-knitters Union writes to a contact in Scotland

Nottm June 16. 1814


Having seen the letter you have sent to your Brother Timothy expressing the Disposition of the Trade of Dumfries to join their Friends in England in uniting themselves under the Union, I feel it my Duty to give you every Information on the Subject. You will see by the Articles that the intent of the Institution is to unite every branch for the support of each other in times of Distress. The Institution has been found to be very beneficial to every branch, as we have all received a small advance on our work except the Plain Silk hands, which we are now contending for; we have had 300 hands out of employ for more than 6 weeks because the Hosiers have not the honour to give a reasonable advance. The Hosiers have formed a powerful Combination against us, but this we have not cared for, we have persevered, and resolved to persevere until we accomplish the object in view which we hope is not far distant.

The Union is well established in Nottingham Derby and their Counties, and is making very rapid progress throughout Leicestershire, London, Godalming, Tewksbury and Northamptonshire have all formed themselves, and we have long wished to form an Interest in North Britain in order that the principle may be diffused throughout the North; and we are happy to find that Dumfries is anxious to set the example, and help when you have formed yourselves you will disseminate the principle through all Scotland; for depend upon it if the Trade are united and true to their own Interest, we shall be able to make our Trade as respectable as any other in the Kingdom and no longer be designated by the application of "Stracking Stockingers". According to request I have sent for Articles and 60 Deplomas, that you may form yourselves as soon as possible. I have taken the liberty to fill one of the Deplomas up for yourself in order that your Secretary may not be at a loss on that head. The Secy must place his name opposite to the number; I hope you will excuse us not writing sooner as we are now so strong, we have scarcely time to attend anything but the Turn out.

(Signed) S. Simpson

N.B. direct for me Newton’s Head, Glasshouse Lane Nottingham

16th June 1814: George Coldham issues handbill backing Hosiers hit by strike action

Nottingham, 16th June, 1814.

IT having been unanimously determined at a large and respectable Meeting of Hosiers, held in London, on the 21st day of April last, convened to take into consideration the propriety of a proposal then made for advancing the price of manufacturing Plain Silk Hose, that such advance should be resisted by the Trade at large; and that in consequence of the recent renewal of the practice of breaking frames, a Society should be formed for the purpose of prosecuting Framebreakers and other purposes connected therewith: and such determination having been sanctioned by the approbation of a subsequent very numerous and highly respectable Meeting of the Hosiers and Lace Manufacturers resident in this Town, held in Nottingham, on the 18th day of May last for the same purposes; at which last Meeting a Committee, Secretary, and Solicitor, were appointed for the conduct and management of the general business of the Society then instituted. And it appearing to that Committee, that in consequence of the adherence of the House of G. and I. Ray to the general determination of the Trade not to give the advance price, that the Plain Silk Workmen of that House since the 26th day of April last,—and that subsequently part of the Plain Silk Hands of Beardmores and Parker, have combined together and ceased to work, with a view to compel those Houses to give the advance. The Committee appointed by the Meeting held in Nottingham on the 18th day of May last, being fully aware that the Houses of Messrs G. and I. Ray, the Beardmores and Parker, have suffered inconvenience—been rendered unpopular and much harassed by the combination, in consequence of acting in conformity with the unanimous opinion of the Meetings of the persons engaged in the Manufactory; have felt it their duty to declare that it is still the full purpose and resolution of the Trade in general, in conjunction with the aforesaid Houses, to resist the advance of price—to decline every appearance of a compromise or settlement thereof—and to pursue all legal means to break up a combination so fatal to the true interests of Hosiers and Framework-knitters.—

The Committee for themselves and the great body of the Plain Silk Hose Manufacturers feel bound to refuse employment to any Workman who shall appear to have struck for an advance of wages, and who are otherwise engaged in this illegal combination; and to give every assistance and support to the Houses of G. and I. Ray, and Beardmores and Parker, by every accommodation in their power with respect to the conduct of their Trade, so long as they shall be the object of attack by the present combination.

By Order of the Committee,

GEO. COLDHAM, Secretary.

Saturday 7 June 2014

7th June 1814: George Coldham updates the Home Secretary on the Hosiers' Secret Committee

My Lord

Nottingham 7th June 1814.—

Soon after the appointment of the Secret Committee by a very numerous Meeting of the Hosiers and Lace Manufacturers of this Town I had the honour of communicating for your Lordships Information the manner in which that appointment was made and my opinion of the Gentleman who constituted it. I then represented that the state of the Manufacture here called for some controuling and energetic Representatives of the whole body of the Manufacturers whose safety and whose success would depend upon the concealment of their personal Identity.—I certainly flattered myself that your Lordship’s good Opinion of me would give some weight to the Opinion which I had taken the liberty to express respecting these Gentlemen, but I was aware that much more weight was attached to the manner of their Appointment which however it might be purposely enveloped in mistery carried upon the face of it strong and imperious title to Confidence because it was impossible that any but persons of the most unquestionable integrity and ability could be so appointed or venture to accept and act upon such an Appointment.—I can not notwithstanding say, that I was satisfied with the extent of the Information I was impowered to give to your Lordship on the subject of this Committee and I made the communication in a certain degree confidentially to Mr. Beckett with the express purpose of inviting the expression of his private opinion to me upon the subject if it should appear to him incomplete.—I have however received no hint from him on this subject as I should always gladly do if he will at any time do me the favour of addressing himself to me confidentially.—I have now no hesitation to state to your Lordship that it was not in my power then to give that complete information of the members of the Committee which I could have wished as being most respectful to you because one of the Secret Committee Mr. Matthew Needham was out of Town when he was appointed and he did not return till Friday last and had not determined finally upon accepting the appointment until Sunday, and I am sure your Lordship will perceive that I could not make the names of these Gentleman known without their express permission so to do.—I therefore could not know but that the whole Constitution of the Committee might be disarranged until Mr Needham's acceptance of the Office.—I have now the authority of the Secret Committee to state to your Lordship for your own Government, with an express understanding that this communication is made in the confidence that it will not be communicated to any one except Mr. Beckett or the persons about your Lordship to whom it may be necessary that it should be known that the originally appointed Secret Committee consist of Thomas Carpenter Smith of Nottingham, Matthew Needham of Lenton Esquire and Joseph Churchill of Nottingham and that they have agreeable to a power vested in them appointed John Parker Junr. and Mr. James Hooley who are not known to the Constituents of the Secret Committee here to be members of it and by these Gentlemen all the business of this Committee assisted by myself has been conducted.—

I have [etc]
Geo Coldham

[To Lord Sidmouth]

Monday 2 June 2014

2nd June 1814: The Earl of Lauderdale reassures Francis Raynes that his case will be neither 'forgot nor neglected'

Captain Francis Raynes was still doggedly pursuing a reward for his services in the West Riding & Lancashire. On Thursday 2nd June, The Earl of Lauderdale (the brother of General Maitland) sent him a letter from London:

London, June 2. [1814]


I lost no time on receiving your letter of the 30th, of speaking to Lord Sidmouth, on the subject of your situation and reasonable expectations, and I must do him the justice to say, that he expressed to me the greatest anxiety to have an opportunity of appointing you to some office, such as he conceived your services merited.—It is impossible to say when such an opportunity may occur; but you may rely upon the case neither being forgot nor neglected.       

I am, Sir,
Your most obedient humble Servant,


[To] Capt. Raynes.