Thursday, 30 March 2017

30th March 1817: A suspected Luddite, James Crofts, writes to his family from the condemned cell at Leicester

Leicester County Gaol March 30th 1817

Dear Father and Mother Brothers and Sisters it is with Sincere regret that I write you out of so dismal a place as I am now in, Bound with Fetters and under Sentance of Death and do not expect to be reprieved in this world,, Dear Father and Mother I know your Feelings towards me is very great, but I hope Dear Father you will make all the Friends you can for me and Petition to save my Life which is now Forfeited—Dear Father and mother I have but little hope but I hope dr Father you will not fail in trying what you can do for me and that Imediately so no time must be lost I do not know [obscured] you to unless you get the Farmers of your [obscured] Sir Robert Clifton and Mr Lansley and Mr Thorpe of Clifton and I hope my Sister will get a few Friends in Nottingham to to Sign it and get Sir Robt. Clifton to Send after the Judge to Warwick So dear Father I hope you will press on the Gentlemen of your Town to save my life and let no time be lost—So dear Father I shall look for some of you over as soon as possably you can—Dear Father and Mother if it is my fortune to Suffer I know the loss of your Offspring will be a great Trouble to you but I hope God will pardon my Sins and then I think your loss will be my gain, So I conclude and remain your infortunate Son in distress

James Crofts

This letter can be found at HO 42/163.

James Crofts was suspected of being a Luddite by the authorities in Nottingham, and his name had cropped up in various correspondence for a long period of time. He had been convicted of Highway Robbery at the recent Leicester Spring Assizes and had been condemned to death.

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