Wednesday, 29 June 2016

29th June 1816: The under-sheriff writes to the High Sheriff of Nottingham about the 'Loughborough Job'

Nottingham 29 June 1816

Dear Sir

I am sorry to inform you that the organized system and practice of Luddism appears still to be in full force in this Town & Neighbourhood—Last night a considerable body attacked a valuable Lace Manufactory at Loughborough where they shot the watchman through the neck and having previously stationed regular guards at all every neighbouring house and avenue proceeded to destroy all the valuable patent frames to the amount of some thousand pounds—After this they called over their men & marched off—It is pretty well ascertained that this Band came from N & return to Nottingham but at present altho’ the Town Magistrates are on the alert there is no prospect of any being discovered & laid hold of—They were armed with fire arms & to some of their Guns bayonets were attached—There are serious apprehensions that some general movement may be expected as it is not a mere quarrel of masters & workmen but the evil seems to extend very wide and it is thought that the removal of the Troops at the approaching Election is looked forward to as a proper time—We have had a communication with the Commanding Officer at the Barracks—It is I think by no means improbable that she may be called upon to act in your Capacity of the principal officer of the County and it would be by no means improper for you before you leave Town to have a Communication with the Secretary of State for the Home Department and with the Lord Lieutenant—You can form no idea of the dreadful spirit which is at work amidst the lower Classes generally of all descriptions and which I am persuaded the utmost vigilance & strongest measures alone can prevent bursting forth with most mischievous energy—Small Bodies of men have been collecting money from house to house in the neighbouring villages under pretence of applying for support to the Framework knitters in an application made by them to Parliament against a particular sort of work their petition against which having been received by the House of Commons is made an Argument—These men the Villagers dare not refuse & much money has been so collected; how to be employed remains to be seen – but this is a repetition of what passed previously to the former commencement of Luddism—

I have had communication with the Town Clerk & know that every thing bad is expected and that the presence of a strong body of Troops is absolutely necessary and scarcely sufficient to prevent an explosion—Excuse my thus troubling you and believe me to remain Dr Sir

Yours obliged hble Servt
Robert Leeson
partner to the under Sheriff

P.S. Mr Jameson the Under Sheriff was not here when your Letter yesterday arrived—It is expected I believe by the County that the Sheriff shd. preside at the Nomination—

[To] Sir R.H.Bromley Bart.

This letter can be found at HO 42/152.

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