Saturday 30 May 2015

30th May 1816: George Coldham outlines the case against the alleged Luddite, Peter Green

My Lord

The Mayor and Aldermen of this Town have directed me to transmit to your Lordship the accompanying Copies of Informations against Peter Green now in the Town Gaol under the circumstances therein stated.—

The Magistrates are in possession of Information upon which they can confidently rely, which they cannot give in evidence against him, without destroying the Source from which the obtain the same, that fully and satisfactorily shows him to have been long and most actively engaged with many other men, in this Town and Neighbourhood in the practice of Framebreaking and Robbing Hen Roots and Orchards to a very considerable extent, and that he was when taken into custody, as far as he could be rendered useful concerned in organizing a plan for open rebellion.—

Under these circumstances the Magistrates considered it their duty as Conservators of the public peace to have this man apprehended for being concerned with others unknown to the Magistrates in exciting the populace to acts of tumult, order the specious pretexts as stated in the Copies of Informations but with an ulterior view to open rebellion should circumstances transpire to favor in their opinion such an attempt.

The nature of the Information in the possession of the Magistrates shews most distinctly that these deluded men have it in contemplation and entertain Sanguine expectations that they shall succeed, under the existing circumstances of the times, if they can but collect together in a considerable body in overturning the existing Government of the Country; and although the Magistrates do not seriously apprehend the present power of these men to accomplish their intentions (destitute as they must be of adequate means for such a purpose), yet they cannot dismiss from their minds the consideration that, unless measures be adopted by the Civil power to check and keep under this spirit of insubordination, there is a great number in this Neighbourhood and some of the other populous parts of the Country are ready to join in seconding these extravagant and mischievous views and projects.—

The Magistrates have been using their utmost diligence to obtain such further Information against this man as could be available in bringing him to Justice for some of the many offences he has been guilty of but they have not been able to procure any such till this day.—A man named Richard Chappell, in the same prison (for embezzling money received by him on his  master’s account) communicate confidentially to the Presiding Magistrates at the Guildhall, That Peter Green has told him since he's been in the Gaol, that when the Rioting first begun at Arnold, where many Frames were broken, he, Peter Green, and two of 3 others broke into a House at Arnold there where an Old man and woman lived and there broke 2 Frames, and that a night or two after he and some others broke another Frame at the same House, and that he was at Bulwell when the man was killed there breaking Frames and that he has been at the breaking of a great number of Frames—

Under these circumstances the Magistrates do not conceive themselves authorized to dispose of this man without receiving the directions of your Lordship, and they desire me to request that your Lordship will be pleased to send me instructions what you would wish to be done herein.—

I am [etc]
Geo Coldham

30th May 1815

[To: Lord Sidmouth]

Monday 18 May 2015

18th May 1815: Francis Raynes appeals to the Home Secretary for a job with the army

Crawford-Street, 18th May, 1815.


His Grace the Duke of Montrose informed me by note, dated the 7th of March, that he had done me the honor to present to your Lordship a memorial, wherein I stated an abstract of services rendered by me, during the disturbances in the north of England, in the years 1812 and 13, and in which were blended both civil and military duties.

Were I not sensible of the interest his Grace feels in my behalf, as do other men of high consideration, I should be led to conclude my case hopeless or unworthy of notice, by the silence your Lordship observes, in not doing me the honor to reply to my memorial.

I did confidently hope, my Lord, on witnessing the rewards so justly bestowed on meritorious officers, at the conclusion of war, and from the testimonials of my conduct for services which were considered of much importance at the time, I should not have escaped the notice of His Majesty’s Government.

That the duty was an arduous one, is manifest from the difficulty to obtain officers to engage in it. The Generals and officers commanding regiments, can vouch for this fact.

To assure your Lordship I went further than any other officer would venture, to suppress the spirit of disaffection, I now beg leave to enclose a testimonial from the bench of Magistrates acting for the division of Stockport.

May I be permitted to submit to your Lordship, whether I might be placed in some fencible or other regiment, as a Major with temporary rank only, and thence allowed the retirement; yet buy no means being understood as wishing to stand aloof, whether my services may be required; being aware, my Lord, such modes of rewarding officers, have not been unfrequent. I presume my services in the line and militia, those in the 12th light dragoons in Egypt, as certified by Lieut.-General Sir John Doyle, to the more recent ones as Captain of the Stirlingshire militia, comprising a period of nearly twenty years, will be deemed a sufficient plea for such a proposition. I trust your Lordship will not consider me too pressing, in urging some decision on a subject which has occupied my hopes for more than two years, the more especially when my residence in town, waiting such decision, and the expense of a large family in the country, are submitted to your Lordship’s feeling consideration. I have the honor to be  [etc]


Captain, Stirlingshire, &c. Militia.

[To] The Right Hon. Lord Viscount Sidmouth, &c.

Sunday 10 May 2015

10th May 1815: George Coldham summarises the report of an informer for the Home Office

Private and Confidential

Dear Sir,

I promised to Write to you soon when I had last the pleasure of seeing you and I determined to wait the next Report of our Informant and to set about acquiring Information as to the Steps taking in the County to prepare a Military Force in Case of Emergency, but I am sorry to be forced to state to you that I very much fear we are upon the Eve of some particular movement.―I am not, I hope, credulous, but I will state to you what Information I have received and I must say, that from two or three other quarters and by my own Eyesight the probability of its being true is rather confirmed that contradicted.—Our informant by a Report delivered this morning says that there were many persons who had seen the curious Proclamation, I read you, and approved of it.—On Sunday night at one of the private and confidential Meetings of the Sett, he was told by one of these Luddites "that there was something else agate that not above one or two in this Town knew of, and it would be plopped out all at once (meaning the Disclosure would be unexpectedly made) – He states that he was with another of these men yesterday (his name he states and residence) and went with him to his Garden, in Sneinton Field and shewed him the Sutton Proclamation. He said he rejoiced very much and was very glad something was going on somewhere else as the Corporation of Nottingham were the damnest set of Rascals in the Country and there was that dammed bull neck Coldham if he got a bit of Information he was off up to the Government with it.—He said he should like to take the lives of some of them—He said what they did was the fear of losing their places,—He stated, when speaking about the Proclamation, there would be something happen in a few weeks they were little aware of as the Soldiers would be then out of the Country—He asserted there had been some men over from Leicester last week and there they were quite ready to join the rest―He said he had seen a man from Birmingham, who told him they were ready there – He said there was somebody, in this Town who knew better than he did what was going on but he did not say who he was — This man is much acquainted with Gravenor Henson, and he thinks it is he is alluded to as knowing better than he did what was going on from his manner of talking – He said they know their friends and they would be all ready to act when called upon".—In stating to you that the substance of this Statement is confirmed by corroborating Accounts and in some degree by my own observation.—I have remarked since my return a more than ordinary knotting and gathering together in small parties of the Common People at night such as always attends and precedes any considerable popular movement.—From three different quarters it has been reported to me from respectable sources of Information that conversations have been overheard which evidently have allusion to some popular commotion.—In opposition to this expectation it is right and proper and consistent with the fact to reflect, that all people whose minds are inflamed, are in the constant habit of overrating their strength and force and the extent of the support which they imagine themselves to possess.—The numbers that will talk and give support by words bear no proportion to the diminished numbers of those who will proceed to Action and these latter must be again increased or diminished in a degree scarcely conceivable by the apparent difficulty or ease of the proposed enterprize.—

From these reflections I been induced to look at our situation as one of no danger or difficulty if we are properly supported not to be trifled with without incurring extreme danger – I believe we are yet safe as we have at present very decent force of Dragoons and a reasonable proportion of Infantry, but Lord Sidmouth taught me to expect we should ere long be compelled to depend upon calling in the County Troops of Yeomanry to our aid.—On this Account I determined to apply myself to learn what steps have been taken on this subject by the County Magistrates, I have accordingly applied to one of these Gentlemen and I learn from him in a manner that leaves not the least doubt of the fact (and I beg of you to state it to Lord Sidmouth for his information confidentially from me relying that neither Lord Sidmouth or yourself will quote me or make me responsible for the accuracy of my intelligence) that the High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire or the Lord Lieutenant had already applied to one or two of these Corps stating that their Services would probably be wanted in the County without having had the pleasure of receiving any assurance that they would be forthcoming for that purpose if requested.—My Informant further stated to me that on a former occasion one or more of these Yeomanry Corps had been called out and that they had presented an Account of their expences to the County Magistrates which had amounted to £100 or £200 I doubt whether not £300 consisting of the Tavern Expences of Officers and privates at what these Gentlemen considered a very extravagant Rate.—That the consequence had been that these expences had been refused to be paid and it was believed they would be again refused to be paid by the Magistrates of the County of Nottingham both as they thought the extent of the charges on this account enormous and as the Magistrates considered it illegal altogether to pay a Military Force out of the County Rate Funds.—If indeed the King’s Troops were employed they should not regard giving them any compliment or remuneration for extra Services or refreshment or Provisions & prefer doing so to incurring the risk of encountering the extravagant demands of the Yeomanry – Let me not be mingled in any way in these questions, I have nothing to do with them but wait their results, which may leave us in absolute distress if not attended to.—We have no force but the Cambridge Militia which has been too long here & any Infantry want Barracks here to be effective for otherwise they are mixed up with the Mob, and cannot be kept in a state of regularity and discipline.—I strongly suspect that the People know well the disposition of these people and regard them as persons totally indisposed to be opposed to them.—The officers are well disposed & the Commanding Officer a personal Friend of mine but without Barracks they are unable to maintain Discipline and the constant state of Association with the Town’s People has had a very pernicious effect upon the spirit of the men if attempted to be brought into Action against the People. I would therefore strongly urge upon his Majesty's Government to judge whether it would not be expedient to provide us with Infantry Barracks here to some extent, but if they should do it I beg it may be done from their own Judgement on the subject arising out of the peculiar circumstances of the Town and Neighbourhood. In addition to the presence of a force, in Infantry which is still less essential than a force in Cavalry I beg to suggest to you whether it might not be practicable to make this a Depot of Cavalry by which there would be a constant force or the appearance of a regular force in Cavalry here available for the public Service.—

There is a most violent Petition signing to the Prince Regent against the War which is likely very much to heighten the present Inflammation of the public mind it is lying for signature at a private house the Mayor having his by his decided conduct respecting the public Meeting forced them to abandon all claim upon the public Rooms belonging to the Corporation for this purpose.—

I have written this letter with the full knowledge and approbation of the small private circle with whom I communicate who are the Mayor, my Brother Mr. Alderman Coldham and the Secret Committee.—I do not feel alarmed for myself but I am satisfied that if we have not at our command at all times a considerable effective Military Force, we ought at least to have such a force as would assume a formidable appearance.

Lord Sidmouth, I believe, thinks I entertain too strong a leaning against the Yeomanry Corps, but I confess I have no opinion they can be made equally effective in any tolerable degree in comparison with the Regulars.—I know that all the Farmers in this immediate Neighbourhood stand in awe of the Mob for fear of their damaging and setting fire to their Corn Stacks &c, and that this Feeling as materially as Mr. Justice Baile’ys Charge operated to the acquitted of Jas Towle.

Pray let me hear from you on the subject of this letter

Your’s very truly
Geo Coldham

10th May 1815

PS. The Report contains some of the Statements relating to the Operations of these Gentleman relating to the Trade & a Relation of some Threats of murdering or of a Desire to murder one Individual on Account of Circumstances connected therewith.

Friday 8 May 2015

8th May 1815: George Coldham writes of sending a spy into Yorkshire

Dear Sir

I am favored with Lord Sidmouth’s letter in reply to my letter to him on the subject of Peter Green and have directed the enquiries therein suggested to be made and shall do myself pleasure of addressing myself again to his Lordship as soon as I learn the result:—

I am honored with his Lordship’s letter of yesterday in reply to the representation made by the Magistrates in favor of Jane Ward and Frances Shannon and am not at all surprized at the opinion expressed by Lord Sidmouth as I may now venture confidentially to inform you that the Representation made was communicated by me not as an act conformable to my own Judgement for I reasoned a good deal with those from whose instructions I acted before I obeyed them — the Mayor and my brother declined giving any personal sanction to the measure from the impression made upon them as well as myself that the nature and Character of the Offence and the circumstances attending scarcely admitted hopes of any further extension of the Royal mercy.—

I now transmit you the last Report of our Informant, received yesterday by which you will perceive that these Gentlemen still entertain hopes of affecting a Revolution altho’ they are not so sanguine as they were.—If there seems a fair and reasonable prospect of our Informant proceeding into Yorkshire as a Delegate from hence without the probability of exciting Suspicion we shall take care to enable him to do so in order to be enabled to communicate to you what information he may acquire.—The person whose address at Sheffield has spoken of his known to have been here and his Character corresponds to what they describe of him, his acquaintance here being amongst the most violent and hot headed.—Hill is well known to us and is precisely the Character he is portrayed by Badder, too bad that even Treatchery to trust.—We have been putting all the most notorious of these persons upon the lists of person summonsed for Nonpayment of Poor Rates and by that means have been enabled to take a pretty observant survey of their persons and countenances, 6 or 8 of them have in this way passed in review before the confidential Magistrates, one of the Secret Committee and myself, to day at the Guildhall

Your’s very truly.―
Geo. Coldham

8th May 1815

[To: John Beckett]