Sunday, 20 November 2016

20th November 1816: The owner of the Stamford Mercury forwards a threatening letter he received to the Home Secretary

Stamford, Nov. 20, 1816.

My Lord

I should not have deemed it necessary or desirous to have troubled your Lordship with the accompanying Letter, addressed to me from the Committee of Incendiaries at Nottingham, had the consideration of its contents been merely personal to myself;—but, understanding from Mr. Mansfield, banker, of Leicester, who accidentally called upon me yesterday, that the character of the writing is the same as that of a letter written to him some time ago from the same quarter, (and for the writing of which letter he prosecuted a man of Nottingham at the assizes at Leicester, but unfortunately not to conviction,) I send it to your Lordship, with a view of assisting any enquiry which in your public situation you might be instituting into the practices of the wretched men who denominate themselves Luddites.

I am, my Lord,
with sincere respect,
Your Lordships very humble servant,

Richard Newcomb, Junr

[To] Lord Viscount Sidmouth.

This letter can be found at HO 42/155. The failed prosecution refers to Thomas Allsop, the leader of a framework-knitter's union in Leciester, who was acquitted of writing a threatening letter at the 1812 Leicester Summer Assizes. The handwriting in the 1816 threatening letter does not look similar to Allsop's, of which there is an example in the Home Office papers. It is not possible to judge if the handwriting in the 1816 letter is the same as the 1812, and the original document does not survive in the Home Office papers (only a handbill which has the text of the letter).

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