Thursday, 12 January 2017

12th January 1817: Jeffrey Lockett informs Lord Sidmouth that 'the Luddites are now principally engaged in politics, and poaching'

[Home Office note] This is for Lord Sth [illegible]—no promise was given—but the hope was expressed on a former occasion

Derby Jany 12th: 1817

I intrude upon you must reluctantly.—But indeed something must be determined upon, respecting the payment of the reward of 500 gs offered in the names of Messrs Heathcoat & Boden for the apprehension & conviction of Towle & his confederates,—or an action will be brought, and other unpleasant consequences result from the delay. Upon the consideration of the statement which I made in my last letter to you, I confidently that Lord Sidmouth will think it right, that the reward should be paid by the Treasury.

The name of S Fletcher appears in a list of the Luddites, mentioned by Towle in his confession to Mr. Pochin,—which I received from Mr. Lichfield.—He is disposed to become useful to me,—& I wish to know how far he has the power of being so. I have written to Mr. Lichfield for such information on this point, as may be disclosed in Towle’s confession.

One of the [Pownalls] is in custody upon a charge of being concerned in the late atrocious outrage, at the house of Lord Middletons gamekeeper—this rascal was very forward in the affair at Loughbro’. Mr. Mundy will visit him tomorrow.

The Luddites are now principally engaged in politics, and poaching. They are the principal bodies in the Hampden clubs, which are now formed in almost every village in the angle between Leicester, Derby, and Newark.—They are expanding into North Derbyshire. A meeting is to be held tomorrow at Chesterfield, which will be numerously attended by the Sheffield reformers. It is understood that petitions from every Club throughout the Kingdom are to be taken to town by deputies, soon after the meeting of parliament. The petitions are printed on paper to ensure their rejection, and there is to be a simultaneous movement in the country about the second of March.

I presume you have seen the political catechism—and litany, and other seditious publications issued from the Hampden Clubs.

There is nothing to apprehend here, except from our Nottinghamshire neighbours;—and hitherto their attempts to fraternize with the workmen of this place have been disappointed.

You will most particularly oblige me by your early successful attention to the first part of this note.

I am Sir your must obed Servt W. J. Lockett

This letter can be found at HO 42/158.

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