Tuesday, 30 June 2015

30th June 1815: The Mayor of Leicester receives an anonymous letter from 'A Loyalist'

[Received 30th June 1815]



It is not impossible that you may know what I am about to communicate; or if not you may deem the information unimportant in either case I am persuaded you cannot be offended by the liberty I take of addressing you, while I shall satisfy my conscience by laying before you a few facts which have recently come to my knowledge—

I lately fell a company with a person of whose principles I had some previous knowledge, though I have every reason to believe he was wholly ignorant of mine — I would here, Sir, remark that in order to be more completely acquainted with him I disguised my own politics sentiments & assumed the appearance of "a true brother" viz. one disaffected to Government. By this means with little difficulty I became the confidant of my companion & received from him what it is my present business to state to you — Our first conversation was respecting the meeting lately held in the [Pasture] the ostensible object of which was "Reform in Parliament" — This I was assured was only a covering of the real design — that similar meetings had been would be convened in many places — that the business was conducted by Strangers & that the real design of them was (to use the same ends) "to see who was who"―That which the apparent business of the meeting was going on — a party of the best of them (i.e. the foremost) were employed in close conversation alone — I was then plainly told that the end in view was to ascertain the sentiments of the people, to appoint persons to carry on the business amongst themselves as well as to keep up a communication with several others places (amongst which Manchester, Liverpool, &c &c were mentioned) — a signal or watchword was appointed — correspondence, on the subject is forbid as likely to lead to detection — when these arrangements are fully made an effort is to be made to subvert the Constitution — an early day was expected to be named — it being desirable to carry their plans into execution while the army is absent (the day [illegible] ― derived it was considered not unfavourable that it was received so early lest the embarkation of the Troops about to proceed to Holland should be stopped)—

A simultaneous movement is to take place. the centre of which is London — They have no apprehension from the Local Militia they being for the most part considered friendly to the cause — It will be unnecessary to enter into the detail of what is to follow if success crown the first effort — I will only firstly state that it is in their plan immediately to proceed to the House of Commons — dissolve it & chuse one of their own making — to dethrone the present family & place — there Sir Francis Burdett, who by the bye is already known among them by the name of Oliver Cromwell—

These things will perhaps rather excite a smile than any consternation — I confess I am not concerned as to the result if any attempt should be made — My only reason for troubling you is, that if you are not already — you may be apprized of what I sincerely believe is in agitation — As no evil can result from your knowledge of them & may be a prevention of disturbance I have put down the above as I heard it unconnectedly & incoherently & incorrectly it is written I doubt not, but you will excuse this & if you think it of any importance you will of course be upon the watch tower. I can assure you the person before mentioned was not sparing of invective against yourself & brother Magistrates for employing Constables upon a late occasion — Every thing indicates at a set of the most despicable unprincipled wretches are endeavouring to promote disaffection ‘till it terminates in a revolution & as this appears the moment for them to make their appeal to the public when trade is bad, manufacturers are out of employ, the army abroad &c it certainly will be but the part of prudence to endeavour to suppress in the germ what perhaps it will be more difficult to destroy when grown into a more complete system

A Loyalist.

This letter can be found at HO 42/145.

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