Friday, 8 July 2016

8th July 1816: The Mayor or Leicester alerts the Home Office that Colliers are levying contributions locally

Leicester July 8th 1816


I received here this morning & I hasten to communicate to you the following Events which took place here last Wednesday morning—about 10 oClock on that day the Magistrates received information that a party of 45 drawing a load of Coals were about to pass thro’ the Town on their way to London—the Magistrates immediately sent to them to insist on their not begging in the Town or committing any other illegal act, or they shd be immediately taken up & sent to Prison—This threat had its’ effect, and they passed straight thro’ the Town, quietly & without delay—& when they had quitted the place the magistrates sent them one [shilling] each—Soon afterwards news came that another party was approaching on the same errand—on which a messenger was sent to meet them with similar instructions, and to tell them that no money should be given to them—But this party took a direction to Melton & never came near the Place—and as these proceedings [now] passing before the Stoppage of the Colliers in the neighbourhood of London was known, I help they are for the present at least at an end—On the evening of the day on which the Colliers went thro’ the Town there was a large mob collected & a trifling disturbance, but the meeting was dispersed on the Magistrates taking into Custody the Person who appeared to be the Instigator of it, I find written Notices have been posted in several parts of the Town this morning to invite a meeting of the Stockingers of the Place & its neighbourhood for the purpose of presenting a remembrance to the Magistrates on the state of Trade—Measures are taken to prevent mischief, & I have no fear about it—There is a circumstance which perhaps may deserve your attention, which is that three of the Luddites, (one of them are very notorious fellow) are now Prisoners in the Town Gaol on suspicion of being concerned in the late outrage at Loughboro’

As we are without Troops it is possible an attempt might be made to liberate them—but as far as zeal & attention of the civil Power aided by a Troop of yeomanry can be effectual in preventing mischief I will venture to say it may be depended upon—

I still however am desirous to know if any other kind of procession should be [formed] under pretence of going on in a Body to present Petitions to the Prince Regent, and if it is wished the Magistrates should stop them, in what way they can legally do it—

I have [etc]
W Mansfield

[To] John Beckett Esq
&c &c &c

[Home Office note: ‘appoint Sir N Conant’]

This letter can be found at HO 42/152.

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