Friday, 22 September 2017

22nd September 1817: Jeffery Lockett sends a description of the informers Blackburn & Burton to government

Derby September 22d 1817

Dear Sir

William Burton is 21 years of age, and his wife, Leah, also twenty one. They have but one child,―a daughter named Charlotte, only five months old:

John Blackburn is twenty three years of age,―and his wife, Ann Blackburn, only twenty. Their only child is a daughter named Mary, and one year & two months old.―

Both parents and Children are in very good health―and able to perform the journey.

Burton is in the neighbourhood of Nottm.―About a week ago, an attempt was made to assassinate him. He was walking out with his wife and child,―and was met by three men, who looked at him very attentively,―and afterwards shot at him, but he escaped.―When he got home he found two other men at his door,―and hearing one of them say “that is him”―he retreated―& went by another way into the town.

Blackburn is at his fathers at Kettering in Northamptonshire. A messanger is sent for him and he will be in Nottm. tomorrow or on Wednesday.

Mr. Enfield will do what is necessary to prepare them for their journey―and you will have the goodness to write to him on the [illegible]. It is hoped that they may sail on the first of October.

I am very sorry to inform you that a fever has attacked several prisoners in our County Gaol. The [prison] has been overcrowded of late:―The magistrates are making every possible exertion to stops its progress.―It is to be lamented that the order for the removal of the reprieved convicts at our last assizes has not been yet received here. I saw Mr. Justice Holroyd sign the [certificate] on Friday―and Mr. Hilditch assured me that it [should] be sent immediately to the Treasury & the order be applied for.

I am apprehensive that this [illegible] is not within your department, but under the pressing circumstances which I have mentioned I am sure you will excuse me for troubling you with it.

I am Dear Sir
Your most obed Servt

Wm Jeffery Lockett

[To: ‘Noble Esqr’]

Monday, 18 September 2017

18th September 1817: A Leicester Hosier writes to the Home Office about strikes in the trade

Leicest. 18th Sept 1817

My Lord

I hope your Lordship will pardon the liberty I am taking in presuming to address you, but feeling as I do the importance of the system which is at present pursuing in this neighbourhood, and and being fully convinced that if it is allwd to grow to maturity it will require all the strength of the law to allay it, I cannot resists what I conceive to be my duty―making your Lordship acquainted with the proceedings without wasting more of your Lordship’s valuable time I would state to you that about 2 months ago there was an attempt made here to raise the price of labour, and meetings were calld for the formation of that object, and it was finally determin’d to raise the price of making Stockings very considerably, in some instances 50 [illegible] in addition to this there was a rule prescribed by which every article was to be regulated, and no workmen was to make any goods but what was specified in this Statement of course several of the principal Houses objected to this regulation, having to make goods for every climate in the known world, they were obligd to change & alter their good according to the customs & wants of the markets they were intended for, this rais’d a violent Opposition, and our Warehouses were besitt with Stockingmakers for 2 or 3 weeks, at length the magistrates issued a Hand Bill which had the effects of bringing the men a little to their senses, but meetings of Committees were held weekly for the purpose of enforcing the original object, a Central Committee was found and district committees in every Street of the town which communicated with the Central Committee, a regular register was obtaind of every Stocking frame, and who employed it, and if any kind of work was attempted to be made which the Stockingmakers thought improper, a meeting was instantly calld and handbills circulated to prevent such work being made, in this Stage of the Business we thought it right again to request the interference of the Magistrates, and we causd the Chairman & good part of the Central Committee to be brought before them when they were told their conduct was illegal and must be discontinued. They are now pursuing their object in a different way, and are extending all over the Country, a man of the name of Snow, has been sent to Nottingham, to promote the same object, and after a great deal of discussion between the masters & men, they have this week―Struck. The same man has been to Belper, Derby, Sheepshead, Hathern, Loughbro, Shilton & Hinckley for the same purpose, and even as far as Tewksbury in Gloucestershire, your Lordship will naturally enquire how the men are maintain’d without work; there is a subscription amongst the hands in work, and the men unemployed are allowd a certain sum weekly provided they will not [word obscured] agreeable to the prescribed rule, your Lordship will  immediately see the effect of these proceedings it will of necessity be the means of very much cramping the trade and allowing no scope for genius, for if no goods are to be made, but by a given rule, if those goods suit a warm climate, they must necessarily be very improper for a cold one, it is making the hands completely masters of their employers, and if every regulation is attempted to be made, they do not approve, by means of this system, the persons hands are all stoppd, I would be sorry taking any charge against our Magistracy for having fostered & encouraged this kind of conduct, but really such is their predilection for the Stockingers (and the men are all aware of this) that it is next to impossible to maintain any kind of subordination, I hope the late terrible examples has had the effect of subduing the spirit of Luddism, but indeed my Lord we shall have something full as bad―if this organized system is not effectually stopd, I have therefore thought it right the submit to your Lordship this plain statement of facts, in order that you may if you think it necessary direct some steps to be taken which may counteract the effect, I shall be happy to give your Lordship any information in my power, and hoping you will pardon this liberty

I am―My Lord

Your Lordship’s most hble Servant

Jno Rawson

[To Lord Sidmouth]

Thursday, 14 September 2017

14th September 1817: Henry Enfield informs the Home Office that up to 9,000 framework-knitters are on strike in Nottingham

Nottingham 14 Sep. 1817

Sir

I had great pleasure in laying before the magistrates yesterday Evening your Letter of the 12r. Instant, for the favour of which they beg to present to Lord Sidmouth their thankful acknowledgments.―

Yesterday, our chief market day, passed over in Tranquility―but the state of things remains precisely the same―no giving way on either side―& the issue is certainly matter of anxious Expectation―

I am desired by the Magistrates to inclose you, for the perusal of Lord Sidmouth, two Advertisements which appeared in the Nottm papers of Friday―The one of the 6r. Instant is deserving of his Lordship’s Attention―His Lordship will observe that there is an ingenious avoidance of the mention of any particular Overseers or parishes―& we are of opinion that the Advertisement is artfully framed by the Stockingmakers Committee to convery abroad the belief that they are actively espoused & upheld by the parishes.―Some of the parishes in the County have by their Conduct given full opportunity to the Frameworkknitters Committees thus to make use of them.―

In the present State of Insubordination, the magistrates beg to state to Lord Sidmouth that the Military force here consists of the 95th. & only one Troop of Cavalry (the 15th.)―The Yeomanry Corps, from the Horses being out at grass, & from the busy state of the Harvest, would not easily or speedily be assembled―If the present Contest break out into Violence, the points of Attack may be dispersed―& if so, the presence of Cavalry can alone be effective―The magistrates of Nottingham state this for the Consideration of Lord Sidmouth, & request that his Lordship will be pleased to give such Directions as he shall think the Circumstances call for.

The persons turned out may, in this neighbourhood, be from 8, to 9000―

I am Dear Sir

Yours very obedy―

H Enfield

[To] H. Hobhouse Esq―

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

13th September 1817: The Secretary for the Colonies authorises Blackburn & Burton's emigration to Canada

Downing Street 13th September 1817.

Mr Lord,

I have had the honor of receiving your Lordship’s letter recommending to my particular Consideration John Blackburn & William Burton who are desirous to become Settlers in His Majesty’s Provinces in North America, and I have in reply to acquaint your Lordship that I shall feel great pleasure in recommending them to the protection of the Governor General Sir John Sherbrooke in order that each of them may receive a Grant of one Hundred Acres of the Crown Reserves in Canada;―that being the most valuable portion of the Lands at the disposal of the Crown, & being therefore, in my opinion best calculated to mark the sense entertained of the merits which have procured for them your Lordship’s recommendation.

I shall further give directions for allowing them Rations during the first twelve months, until some part of the lands allotted to them shall be brought into Cultivation;―altho’ Government have not charged themselves with this expence in any of the recent Emigrations.

As the Season during which Settlers were forwarded to the Province by this Department has long since elapsed, I trust Your Lordship will take the necessary measures for providing messieurs Blackburn & Burton with a Conveyance.

I have [etc]

Bathurst

[To] Viscount Sidmouth
&c &c &c

Monday, 11 September 2017

[11th] September 1817: Henry Enfield writes to the Home Office about striking Frameworkknitters in Nottinghamshire

Nottingham 10r. September 1817.

My Lord

The Magistrates wish me to make a Communication to Your Lordship of the present State of this Town & its neighbourhood.

During the last three days there have been a general Strike, or Turn-out, of the Frameworkknitters for an Advance of Wages―& vast numbers of them have Come into Nottingham from the adjacent Villages & Townships―It is reported that they have in some instances in the County used violence, & in very many instances Threats, to bring out those Frameworkknitters who were reluctant to join them―and, that there are two Committees sitting in Nottingham who are the directors of the present measures & supply the men with money for their immediate support. At present no Violence or actual Branch of the public peace has been Committed―the men walk about in Considerable numbers, & make their frequent Applications to the Hosiers―but the magistrates cannot expect this tranquil demeanour to be of long duration if the object which in view that continue ungained―& they have therefore taken, & will be constantly prepared with means to the utmost of their power for putting down any Commotion―

With respect to the question between the Frameworkknitters & their masters, the magistrates have not any power to interpose―& as Individuals they do not conceive that they have any right to become parties―Their duty is, as they conceive, to watch the public Peace & to preserve it―being ready, nevertheless, at all times to receive Complaints, & to enforce the Laws relating to Combinations &c.―It may happen that each [succeeding] Day will make the men more & more discontented, & the Committees more personal & threatening―this may become so overt as to call for the Interference of the magistracy without a complaint―but should this not occur, the magistrates are of opinion that they should not officially take any active step―They will be happy to receive from Lordship’s Sentiments upon this Subject―

Mr. Aldr. Morley has received the enclosed Letter from Mr. Parker of this Town, a manufacturer of first respectability―The magistrates cannot so satisfactorily dispose of the Letters as by transmitting it in the Dispatch for the Consideration of Your Lordship―

I have [etc]

H Enfield

Town Clerk

P.S. Sep. 11.

I beg to enclose your Lordship a Handbill―This handbill was carried about by the collectors of the Subscriptions to the Frameworkknitters Cause, & a Copy left with the Subscriber―Their collections were (& I believe are) by House-row―

H.E.

[To] The Right Honble Lord Sidmouth
Secretary of State &c &c &c

Friday, 8 September 2017

8th September 1817: A Nottingham Hosier has fears about FWK Union activity

Nottingham Septem 8th 1817

Sir

The very unpleasant circumstance, under which I have lately placd in the conducting my manufactory being solely the result of the unfounded although public representation made by certain parties calling themselves committees of Frameworkknitters―which said publications have, and are intended to have the effect of rendering the workman dissatisfied in every transaction with his employer I feel myself entitled to request your attention to this subject as one which threatens a much more serious wit than that of incommoding the individual―

Presuming that you are well acquainted that the nature of our manufactory is that of considerable permanence in the engagement between master & workman―you will be able to judge how very painful the situation of the employer in being incessantly calld upon to refuse gratifications which the workman is most industriously informd is really his due―

The Magistrate I am well aware is entitled to answer me, that his concern is only with acts which constitute a breach of the Peace―but when I have [stated] the publications to which I request your attentions―I can scarcely permit myself to doubt that you will be satisfied they have a manifest tendency to provoke a renewal of those disorders which have disgraced the whole range of the manufactory & occasioned the destruction of private property and of Life

Doubtless the intentions of many of those parties who so loudly anticipate the enlargement of our commerce, are innocent but it is time that even they should in some way be apprised that every instance where they raise expectations they are morally bound to fulfil them and are not entitled to throw the burthen upon that other party in commercial transactions, whose sacred interests their precipitate exultation has occasioned them to overlook―This remark would be misplaced were it merely sentimental―but its foundation is in fact of notorious publicity―the expected advancement of the wages of Labor―without adverting to any distinctions, being the almost daily theme of many public prints―the avow’d object of the conduct of several public bodies & public men (see advert from Ilkeston in the Nottm Review of 15 Augt last)―Conduct which renders them in my mind parties to a conspiracy for advancing wages and whose alliance & prompting forbids the thought of prosecuting the prominent, but the excited & perhaps misled conspirator

The first publication is dated July 11 & purports to be an intimation that the demand for goods had so encreased at Leicester that, with the exception of two or three houses, an advance of prices had been agreed to―the information had been previously, or was at some time, aroused in the Leicester and Nottingham papers apparently as News by the editor―but more probably by the parties themselves―Now, Sir my information is, that the application of the workman for an advance was suggested to them―nay even urgd upon them by the conduct of the answers of the Parish or Parishes of Leicester―& the FWKrs undertook their committees―(which it was hopd had become dormant at least, if not extinct) that Prices should have a correspondent Rise in Nottingham throughout the County―a point in which upon their failing, the Leciester and Hinckley houses finding themselves imposd upon recalled their advance

The application made to Nottingham is dated July 21st―imprudently alledging the advance at Leicester to be occasiond by extraordinary demand―& asserting the same demand to exist in Notts

The next publication―(is annexed as a supplement &) is dated July 25 in which the Committee announce their failure in terms which evince the bitterness of their disappointment & a determination to communicate resentful feelings to the body of the FWKrs―

Another publication dated 13th August is in the form of a letter to the Hosiers who manufacture Silk Gloves, couched in terms to excite no slight resentment towards the masters who do not comply―asserting a demand for their article which my own concern in this branch enabled me to know did not exist―or but partially as some demand always will―

The advertisements in the Nottm Review of 15th Augt―standing alone might leave it doubtful whether the FWKrs excite the vestry―or the vestry excite the FWKrs

Again under date 21st Augt, and after the Leicester houses recalled their advance―the Cotton workmen of Notts are required to exert themselves to secure the objects of the Committee

All these efforts failing―a Bill of advanced Rates of the Committees own forming―was delivered on the 29 Augt―with the usual breadth of assertion as to the consent of the masters except a few, who are hereby stigmatisd as oppressive & unjust

An advertisement in the Nottm Papers of Septem 6―shows clearly that these men have been generally repulsd by their employers―against whom they hope the getting of the harvest―the countenance of the Nobility Gentry Clergy & Overseers throughout the County―will support them in a general strike for advance of Wages & enable them to enforce their Bill of Rates

These circumstances exhibit such compleat evidence that the organisation of these Committees, from which individuals & the country at large have sufferd such serious injury & alarm―& in which principles destructive of all harmony between master & workman are inculcated―exist in full activity―that I cannot but persuade myself you will concur with me in opinion that the powers of the magistracy would be well employd in destroying such mischievous combinations

Whether the trade do or do not adopt the Bill of Rates thus impudently tendered―& violently enforcd―the reluctance of the employers has been sufficiently evinced―& for the committees to succeed in this mode can only tend to encrease their personal audacity & their mischievous influence over an extended population―

Other offensive matters, which have not appeared in print, are through the vigilance of your police, perhaps, better known to you than to me―I shall therefore leave them to such weight as you may judge them worthy of―& I am Sire your most obedt Servt

John Parker

[To: L Morley Esqr]

Saturday, 2 September 2017

2nd September 1817: Nottingham Framework-knitters Handbill about low pay

TO THE
Philanthopic and Feeling
PUBLIC,
OF
NOTTINGHAM,
And its Vicinity,
The distressed Part of the Framework-Knitters,
UNDER THE DENOMINATION OF PANTALOONS, DRAWERS, CAPS,
GLOVES, SANDALS, SHIRTS, FLEECE-WORK, &c.

GENTLEMEN,―We have to regret after having repeatedly applied for Redress from our different Employers, there are Three of the Manufacturers in the above Branches, are in a peculiar manner obstinate in not coming forward to alleviate the Sufferings of their distressed Workmen.

One, of the name of Mr. J_______, of Castle-gate, when solicited and informed his Workmen could no longer Work at the present reduced Price, positively asserted he would not give the Advance. Mr. P_______, Stoney-street, asserted the same.

Gentlemen,―It is a Fact, the two above-mentioned Manufacturers are giving no more to their Hands, then other Master-Stocking-makers give to their Journeymen, and this is the chief Cause of their going to the Market and under-selling the respectable Houses: Mr. M____, Fletcher-gate, is the other Obstacle, but appears more favourable.

We have long strove to Support our Families, under the most trying and perilous Circumstances, independent of Parochial Relief; but, alas! in vain. But we now look forward with the pleasing ray of the hope, that the Day of Relief is at hand.

It is with gratitude we have to announce to the Public, that our other Employers have come forward with a Determination, that does them honor both as Men and Gentlemen, not only to take part of the Burthen which we have borne with Patience and Fortitude, but to restore us as near to our former State of Comfort and Independence as the Trade will admit.

We wish to impress our Cause on your Minds; it is such as will enable us, and our Children after us, to live by our Labour; but, if lost, we must remain a poor and helpless distressed People. An humble Independency, by honest Industry, is all we crave, and none but unreasonable Men will dispute our Right.

It is evident that the irregular Manner in which the Trade has been carried on with the depression of Wages, have been considered as the primary Source of the Evils complained of by the Public, in paying the enormous Poor-Rates, which has been caused by the Reduction of Wages.

Could the Price requested be obtained, it would then enable us to Support our Families without the Assistance of Parochial Relief.

It is humiliating and painful to us to call upon a generous Public for their aid, without which, we cannot be extricated from our forlorn and distressed Situation, only by their kind Assistance.

Most of the Manufacturers are giving the Prices which we now crave FROM OUR OWN EMPLOYERS. The Price we now ask is what we received in the Year 1815; and in the year 1811, we received Four Shillings in the Pound more than what we are now soliciting.

Signed, in behalf of the above Branches,

JAMES BROWN.
WILLIAM LEE.
THOMAS HUSKINSON.

Nottingham, September 2, 1817.

Printed by Sutton and Son, Bridlesmith Gate, Nottingham.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

29th August 1817: Charles Mundy updates the Home Office about the informers, Blackburn & Burton

Burton August 29th: 1817

Dear Sir

I have written to Mr. Lockett to ask if there is anything further material in Olivers statement that it is necessary for him to apply to me about & as soon as I receive his answer I will send the papers to you.―John Blackburn & Burton are not at all in the way of any one. Blackburn is with his father in Nottinghamshire Burton with his wives father near Nottingham. as they dare not go out to enquire for work or shew themselves. I have found it necessary to supply them with a weekly allowance for the support of themselves & families.―Blackburn comes late at night to me once a week for his subsistance & I have employd Barnes one of the Nottingham Police Officers to pay Burton his.―

The Wife of Samuel Caldwell otherwise Big. Sam who prevented by fits from taking his trial with Savage & the other Luddites at Leicester last spring & who was sentenced at the late assizes to be transported for Life has been to me to ask if it is possible for her to accompany her Husband to the place of his destination

the poor woman, who has a very good character, is an Irish woman without a friend in this country if such an indulgence is ever granted I really think this is a case for it. Caldwell never was considered a man of bad character till his connection with our friend John Blackburn & then has not appeared as a Leader or Contriver of the business.―they have one daughter about ten years old & I find the man has been a good Husband & father.―

I remain dear Sir
Ever yours faithfully

C.G. Mundy

[To] H. Hobhouse Esq

Sunday, 13 August 2017

13th August 1817: Charles Mundy informs the Home Secretary of the whereabouts of John Hill & Christopher Blackburn

Burton August 13th
Near Lougborough

My Lord

I have the Honour to inform your Lordship that John Blackburn came to me a few days since to inform me that John Hill, one of those concerned with him in the outrage at Lougborough, was concealed in a House at Nottingham. I wrote to Mr. Lockett to know if he had rec.d any directions from your Lordship respecting those men against whom Bills were found by the Grand Jury at the last Lent Assizes at Leicester but who had not been apprehended  if this member John Hill is one.―as there will be no possibility of convicting any of them without the testimony of John Blackburn or William Burton I beg the favour of being instructed by your Lordship what steps to take concerning John Hill.―As I have received no answer from Mr. Lockett I presume he is from home.―John Blackburn also informed me that his Brother Christopher is working at the embankments in the Fens of Lincolnshire, the usual resort of those who are driven from this part of the Kingdom.―Would your Lordship think it advisable to endeavour to allure him to return & give Evidence against Frank Ward now in custody under your Lordships warrant on suspicion of treasonable practices? but against whom I apprehend we have no case whatever for a jury.―Savage & Joshua Mitchell both told me before their execution that the Loughborough Job was arranged between Frank Ward & Christopher Blackburn, if Ward could be convicted as an accessory before that Outrage it would be a most effectual blow against the revival of Ludding. How far Christopher Blackburns evidence might go or how far it might be possible to [confirm] him of course I can form no idea till without seeing him.―I am sorry to say things are not in a good footing between the workmen & the Hoziers.―there is plenty of work but the prices in general given are so low that no workmen can maintain a family. This has given rise to a sort of warfare between the parish Officers & the Hoziers. the former having proclaimed their intention of supporting the men without work whose masters will not give an advanced price. some of the Hoziers have adopted the advanced price, & I am assured by several very respectable Hoziers that it is no more than the trade can well afford to give. but many of the Hoziers, & those the most opulent & of the most extensive business still give the low price. they have also enlarged the size of the pieces making a yard of work to consist of forty two Inches instead of thirty six. but when the piece is sold to the shopkeeper the yard is only thirty six Inches. I fear those desperate may without close watching lead to dangerous combinations again on the part of the workmen who at present are very quiet

I have the Honour to remain
My Lord your Lordships most Obedient
Very Humble Servant
C. G. Mundy

Friday, 4 August 2017

4th August 1817: Charles Mundy sends an update on the Informers Blackburn & Burton to the Home Office

Burton August 4.th 1817
Near Loughborough

My dear Sir

Blackburn & Burton have both decided that they should like to go with their wives & families to America if any mode can be pointed out of their earning a living there. This decision was not finally made until a day or two immediately previous to Leicester assizes. the letter from the Gaoler informing me of it did not reach me so soon as it ought to have done owing to my being it at Derby in attendance to give evidence before the Grand Jury in the Reason Bills. & on my return home I found Mrs Charles Mundy whom I had left ill still so & all my three children in a state of the utmost danger. this prevented my attending the assizes at Leicester I wrote to Mr. Lockett who I knew was there to beg he would see Blackburn & Burton & tell them to remain quietly in Leicester Gaol till I rec.d directions from Lord Sidmouth respecting their wish of going to America.

unfortunately, Caldwell had having pleaded guilty & Lockett having no other business there he was gone home to derby before my servant got to Leicester with my letter.―In consequence of these accidental circumstances Blackburn & Burton heard nothing from me.

The undersheriff, (Mr. Miles) & some others I believe went to the men, and as they describe it told them some one thing & some another” & puzzled them till they did not know what to do―The High Sheriff went to Mr. Justice Bailey & stated that two men were in Gaol without any charge & commitment but justice Bailey conscientiously felt himself justified compelled to ordering them to be discharged the day he left the Town & at ten OClock at night they arrived at my House without money or place of refuge. I determined then after consulting with them what would  be best for them to do till I could hear from Lord Sidmouth respecting their going to America they determined that Blackburn should remain here all night & set out early in the morning for Kettering in Northamptonshire & stay with his father there and that Burton should go on in the dark to his Wives father at New Radford, Nottingham: this subjected to us thinking it a dangerous plan for Burton but he was bent upon it and said he would get there in the night & remain concealed till I send to him.

I gave them a pound note each for their present support but I own I feel nervous about them especially Burton. as soon as Lord Sidmouth determines in the mode of conveying & providing for them I shall be glad to be inform’d.―

Would Lord Sidmouth now think it worth while to set John Blackburn to work to find his Brother Christopher and try to persuade him to surrender & to give evidence against Frank Ward as an accessary before the fact of the Loughborough Job? Frank Ward is now in custody under Lord Sidmouths Warrant on suspicion of Treasonable practices but we have nothing to support any charge. he is such a rascal & so mischievous a fellow it would be a good thing to transport him.―

I remain dear Sir
Ever yours faithfully
C.G. Mundy

If the Sheriff & Mr. Justice Bailey would have been quiet the two men would have remained quietly in Gaol they had both signd their consent to remain there.

[To] H. Hobhouse Esq

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

1st August 1817: The suspected Luddite, Frank Ward, writes to Lord Sidmouth from his cell at Oxford Castle

Oxford Castle August 1. 1817

My Lord

When I was taken from my home I had a respectable business that imployed nine frames. but the last account I received from my Wife informs me that she as not received anay Work since I was taken and my Lord I have a wife and four Children that wholy depended on that business so soport and as been inabled by it to pay taxes to the amount of nearly £20 a year. but in my abstance the business is Lett for want of me to superintend it and if the taxes must be paid while I ham kept from home the business must be broke up and my family be brought to Distress and Ruin. and why My Lord must this sevear punishment be inflicted upon an innocent and helpless familey it is not because their farther is gilty of the crime he is charged with. no My Lord. I declare my innocence and solicet proof of my gilt. and the olney faviour I ask your Lordship is spedeley to bring me to trial. that I may prove my innocence to the Disgrace of those. that have so wickardly and maliciously Slanded and ruined me. and my family. and Deciveingly have deceived and imposed upon your Lordship. to the ingury of your Lordship in your precent situation and carracter. and my Lord I humbly look to you for redress and I hope I may not look in vain―I hope and trust your Lordship will give me your advice weather my Wife must pay the taxes or no in my abstance I hope a acte of compassion to a destressed and helpless familey  your Lordship condescend to answer this Letter and I Remain My Lord your Lordships Most Humble and most obedient Servent

Frances Ward.

PS―

My Lord

Whe saperately and jointly Humbly thank your Lordship for your kindness in permitting us to be togeather 3 or 4 hours per Day and prays your Lordship will permit us to be to Geather constant as there is an apartment in the prison witch whould make us mutch more comfortable wheir whe both might be to geather if it meetes your Lordships approbation whe shall be very thankfull

Monday, 31 July 2017

31st July 1817: Jeffery Lockett informs the Home Office of the outcome of Samuel Caldwell's trial

Leicester July 31.st 1817

Dear Sir


The prisoner accepted our proposal & pleaded guilty to the indictment charging him with the offence of framebreaking―The words were scarcely out of his mouth before he was seized with a very violent convulsion fit which continued more than half an hour and left him in a state of insensibility. The judge will pass sentence upon him tomorrow.

My advances on account of the Treasons & in this [business] are considerable. You will oblige me if you will authorize Mr Litchfield to place some money to my acct: at Messrs Lees & Co. of Lombard St.

I am Dear Sir
Your most obed Servt

Wm Jeffery Lockett

[To Henry Hobhouse]

31st July 1817: Samuel Caldwell convicted of frame-breaking during the 'Loughborough Job' - the final Luddite trial

On Thursday 31st July 1817, at Leicester Assizes, the Luddite Samuel Caldwell (aka 'Big Sam') pleaded guilty to frame-breaking during the 'Loughborough Job' over a year earlier, and was sentenced to transportation for life.

Caldwell had stood trial with his comrades in April at the previous Assizes, but had been seized with a violent fit before the trial commenced proper. He had been held in prison since then awaiting another trial.

The Leicester Chronicle of 1st August 1817, covered the trial thus:
Samuel Caldwell, charged with breaking Heathcote and Boden's frames, in Loughborough, having pleaded Guilty, was sentenced to transportation for life, the charge for shooting at Asher being abandoned. This is the Prisoner whose trial stood over from last Assizes, in consequence of being seized with a fit, when arrainged with the unfortunate men who have since suffered. He was similarly attacked on Thursday, after he had pleaded Guilty to Frame-breaking.
Caldwell's trial and sentence has been overlooked by most historians, but this was effectively the final Luddite trial.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

22nd July 1817: Two frames sabotaged at Wimeswold, Leicestershire

The Leicester Chronicle of Friday 1st August reported an act of sabotage that had taken place in Wimeswold in the early hours of Tuesday 22nd July 1817:
In the night of Mondsay se'nnight, a stocking-maker's shop at John Clarke's, of Wimeswold, near Loughborough, was broken open, and the jack-wires withdrawn from two of the frames, and taken away, besides a little injury done to some of the needles. It is supposed that this serious mischief (serious indeed to the life of the perpetrator thereof, if he should be caught,) was committed at the early hour of one o'clock in the morning, as some neighbours heard a noise thereabouts. There was another frame in the shop, but is escaped being at all meddled with. Working under price is assigned as the cause of this lamentable occurrence. We also understand, that an event of a pretty similar description has recently taken place at Castle Donington.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

19th July 1817: Pre-publication advert for Francis Raynes' expose of his anti-Luddite activities in the North of England in 1812

Francis Raynes attempts to secure remuneration for his services to the Government during 1812 had been largely fruitless, and by 1817, amidst the furore produced by the uncovering of Oliver the Spy, he had taken a decision to 'publish and be damned' (in the words of Wellington).

The advert below appeared in the Morning Chronicle of Saturday 19th July 1817:


In the press and speedily will be published,
AN APPEAL to the PUBLIC, containing an ACCOUNT of SERVICES rendered during the Disturbances in the Manufacturing Districts of the North of England, in the year 1812. With an Account of the Means adopted which eventually led to their Suppression; together with a Correspondence with Governors, the Duke of Montrose and others, on the subject of a Remuneration for those Services. By FRANCIS RAYNES, formerly Lieutenant in the 12th, of Price of Wales’s Light Dragoons, late Captain in the Stirlingshire Militia.

“Then fancy that the thing is done,
As if the power and will were one.”
“Kings might indeed their friends reward,
But Ministry find less regard.”―GAY.

London: printed for John Richardson, 91, Royal Exchange, and Baldwin, Cradock and Joy, Paternoster-row; and M. Stack, Gainsburgh.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

12th July 1817: The Treasury Solicitor authorizes payment of the legal bills for the final Luddite trials

[Lincoln’s] Inn
12th July 1817.

Sir.

The King agt: Towle & ors
Same agt: Savage & ors.

I have the honor to inclose the Bills of Costs charges and Expences incurred in these Prosecutions by Messrs: Ward Lockett & Balguy of Derby amounting in the first Case to Seven hundred and ninety two Pounds fifteen Shillings & nine Pence and in the latter Case to Fourteen Hundred and Seventy five Pounds and nine Pence together with Abstracts thereof―These Accounts have been examined in the usual manner, and deductions made of those charges which are not ordinarily allowed, but the principal part of those deductions arising from an Extra charge for a managing Clerk in the course of this business, which considering the nature & Extent of these prosecutions & the various places, at which the business was going on at the same time, may not be deemed unreasonable or improper to be allowed. I should submit that with the deduction of fifteen Shillings from the first Bill and Six Pounds one Shilling from the Second, the remainder which will then amount to Two thousand two hundred and Sixty one Pounds x x x x x x v and six Pence may be allowed and paid to Messrs: Ward Lockett & Balguy in full discharge of these Bills―

I am
Sir
Your very faithfull
and obedient Servant

H. C. Litchfield

[To] H. Hobhouse Esqr
&c &c &c

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

11th July 1817: The 'Destroying Stocking Frames Act, 1817'

An Act to repeal an Act, passed in the Fifty fourth Year of His present Majesty, for the Punishment of Persons destroying Stocking or Lace Frames, and Articles in such Frames, and to make, until the First Day of August One thousand eight hundred and twenty, other Provisions in lieu thereof.

[11th July 1817.] 

WHEREAS an Act was passed in the Fifty Second Year of His present Majesty's Reign, intituled An Act for the more exemplary Punishment of Persons destroying or injuring any Stocking or Lace Frames, or other Machines or Engines used in the Framework Knitted Manufactory, or any Articles and Goods in such Frames or Machines; to continue in force until the First Day of March One thousand eight hundred and fourteen: And Whereas an Act passed in the Fifty fourth Year of the Reign of His present Majesty, intituled An Act to repeal an Act of the Fifty Second Year of His present Majesty, for the Punishment of Persons destroying Stocking or Lace Frames, or any Articles in such Frames, and to make other Provisions instead thereof: And Whereas it is expedient that the said last recited Act of the Fifty fourth Year aforesaid should be repealed, and other Provisions made instead thereof: Be it therefore enacted by The King's Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same, That from and after the passing of this Act the said last recited Act of the Fifty fourth Year aforesaid shall be repealed, and the same is hereby repealed, save and except as to so much of the said last recited Act as repeals the said recited Act of the Fifty second Year aforesaid, and also save and except as to any thing done before the passing of this Act, with respect to which the said Act shall remain and be in full Force and Effect as if this Act had not been made.

II. And be it further enacted, That from and after the passing of this Act, if any Person or Persons shall by Day or by Night enter by force into any House, Shop or Place, with an Intent to cut or destroy or any Framework Knitted Pieces, Stockings, Lace or other Articles or Goods, being in the Frame, or upon any Machine or Engine thereto annexed, or therewith to be used or prepared for that Purpose, or with an Intent to break or destroy any Frame, Machine, Engine, Tool, Instrument or Utensil used in and for the working and making of any such Framework Knitted Pieces, Stockings, Lace or other Articles or Goods in the Hosiery or Framework Knitted Manufactory, or shall wilfully and maliciously, and without having the Consent or Authority of the Owner, destroy or cut, with an Intent to destroy or render useless, any Framework Knitted Pieces, Stockings, Lace or other Articles or Goods, being in the Frame or upon any Machine or Engine as aforesaid, or prepared for that Purpose, or shall wilfully and maliciously, and without having the Consent or Authority of the Owner, break, destroy or damage, with an Intent to destroy or render useless, any Frame, Machine, Engine, Tool, Instrument or Utensil used in and for the working and making of any such Framework Knitted Pieces, Stockings, Lace or other Articles or Goods in the Hosiery or Framework Knitted Stockings, or Framework Lace Manufactory; or shall wilfully and maliciously, and without having the Consent or Authority of the Owner, break or destroy any Machinery contained in any Mill or Mills used or any way employed in preparing or spinning of Wool or Cotton, or other Materials, for the Use of the Stocking or Lace Manufactory, every Offender being thereof lawfully convicted shall be adjudged guilty of Felony, and shall suffer Death as in cases of Felony without Benefit of Clergy. 

III. And be it further enacted, That this Act shall continue and be in force until the First Day of August, which will be in the Year of Our Lord One thousand eight hundred and twenty.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

20th June 1817: Frank Ward & 2 other suspects arrested for 'treasonable practices'

On Friday 20th June 1817, the Leicester Chronicle repeated a story printed in the Nottingham Review:
During the last ten days, Francis Ward, a master silk-stocking-maker, and John Holmes, and Samuel Haynes, lace-hands, have been taken into custody, and on Saturday last, were removed to London in two post chaises, where, we understand it is likely they will be detained, on suspicion of seditious or treasonable practices.
Francis, or 'Frank' Ward, had been named by the late Luddite Joshua Mitchell at the end of March, in a confession made just prior to his execution. Ward's arrest would later become cause célèbre, as we shall see in due course.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

10th June 1817: A desperate Gravenor Henson writes to Lord Sidmouth from Cold Bath Fields prison

House of Correction, Cold Bath Fields
June 10. 1817—

My Lord

I hope after an imprisonment of upwards
of two months in close confinement you will not [obscured]
me importunate in making the present application
especially as I have several Weeks since ma[obscured]
[illegible] communication to Sir N Conant. I was [obscured]
must recollect the circumstance of my [obscured]
in London with a Petition to the Prince Regent [obscured]
Hand; and as I left Nottingham with only [obscured]
of Linen, as I expected to return thither on [Sunday] [I am]
in extreme want of necessaries particularly Shirts [obscured]
I brought with me were considerably worn nay [obscured]
more than I thought till I came to examine them:—[obscured]
I am now in that situation that during my further con-
finement I shall not have a clean Shirt: I have nothing
to complain of the Diet I receive; but I hope my Lord
you will consider that clean Linen, Shoes, [and] Drawers (mine
have divided in two parts) are as necessary as Virtue.
I hope my Lord innocent as I certainly am, and m[obscured]
worthy of recompence than imprisonment, that [you] [obscured]
not treat me so harshly as to keep me here con[obscured]
naked, dirty, shirtless, perhaps filthy, and that [obscured]
even hinting to me the nature and bearing of [my] [obscured]
My Lord you have told me that you suspected [obscured]
High Treason, but when my Lord I [illegible]
was against my principles to engage in Rebellion [obscured]
shook your Hand; I cannot suppose my Lord
would barely on your own suspicions confine any Man for
Months, but I must anathemise those who have done me
so great an injury in the opinion of your Lordship
Mr Smith told me at his Seat at Blendon Hall that your
Lord received Information that it was me, and John
Blackner (now deceased) who were the “principal Instigators”
[obscured] the Luddites,” I believe that there are persons in Nottingham
[and] its Neighbourhood who would not hesitate a moment
[obscured] giving your Lordship such malicious and false information
[obscured]lieve that you have received such Information; I told
[obscured] Smith so; but I told him at the same time that I thought
[his] Lordship knew better, that you knew that I had at
[various] times done my utmost to moderate the minds
[of] the Workmen and induce them to seek other means
[of] redress than Force, outrage, and disturbance for their
acknowledged grievances: in conformity to these views I was
an active promoter of the Framework Knitters Bill, which
passed the Commons Houses of Parliament (but which I had
the misfortune to understand in your Lordships Office
was considered one of my Offences).

At the particular request of Mr D. P Coke, Mr John Smith
and Sir Thos Tyrwhit, after the Bill was rejected in
the House of Lords, I undertook to endeavour to soothe and
moderate the public mind in Nottingham, with the assis
tance of several worthy Persons it succeeded but in a
manner that gave additional offence to some of the
masters, by advising the workmen to seek fir redress
by Combinations as the workmen of various Trades
have done in London for a great number of years without
I believe incurring the suspicion of his Majesty’s Govern-
ment; the plan indeed was objectionable but in the midst
[obscured] so wild a commotion it was the only expedient [practible]

I believe that at that period your Lordship had great [confidence]
of me; buy I was the most entitled to praise, but [obscured]
shall even believe that that was one cause of my [present]
confinement,—But if I offended them I have since [obscured]
them (I mean the unprincipled malicious part of the [manufac-]
turers) great offence; by prosecuting them for [paying]
workmen in Frames and other Goods instead of [Wages]
which was brewing a storm that had already [obscured]
mischief and was likely to do more; these [Persons]
raised the clamour of Luddites Committees &c &c [obscured]
my Lord for a positive fact, that when those [obscured]
were broken in Woolpack Lane Nottingham [obscured]
of these Persons made applications to the [Magistrates]
for my apprehension, though I knew no [more] [obscured]
affair than your Lordship, nor of any of the [obscured]
prior to their commission: thus my Lord have [obscured]
persecuted for doing good, and preventing to a [great]
extent the distress being greater, and the depredations [obscured]
extensive; I have offended the more desperate Luddites
whom I have been informed have repeatedly threatened
to shoot me for counteracting their designs; and for the
freedom of language I have used at various times against
the practice; on the other hand the Masters (and per[obscured]
some of the Magistrates who are Masters) have misrep[resen]
ted and [illegible] me to your Lordship;

With respect to Politics if I am confined further [obscured]
still more innocent, I interfered only when I [understood]
the Habeas Corpus was going to be suspended, because [obscured]
every reason to expect that they would denounce me t[obscured]
Lordship; I have been no Delegate, I have attended as [obscured]
or private Meetings if there are any in Nottingham [obscured]
secret to me, the only Meetings I have attended were [for the]
purpose of petitioning the Legislature against the [suspension]
of the Habeas Corpus Act—

I beg I must again request your Lordship that you will
[have] the generosity to order me some Linen: but if this should
[not] meet the intentions of your Lordship in clothing the Persons
under confinement, on account of the expences that you
[obscured] put me on the Gaol allowance in provision, and approve
[obscured] the allowance You now make for my maintenance
[obscured] Linen &c, or if neither of these should meet
[your] Lordships approbation, I have particularly to request
[obscured] Lordship that you will remove me to some of
[obscured] Gaols that I may be within reach of my
[obscured] to find me those necessaries that I am so much in
[need] of, in short my Lord I hope you will take some
[obscured] means of relieving my necessities as shall seem to
[your] Lordship most expedient, as for my Liberation, I am
[much] afraid that your Lordships mind is too much preju
diced against me to hope for so great a Blessing, though
I am conscious that from some quarter or other your Lord-
ship has either much misconceived (and it is very probable
that Mr. Smith or your Lordship might misunderstand the
nature of my communication to him respecting the Petition
[or] that I have been much misrepresented in my Case.—

I came to Town conscious of the rectitude of my intentions
[which] was for the purpose of saving the lives of some
[misguided] People; and of enabling your Lordship without
[compromising] the dignity of the Laws, to conciliate a refra
[obscured] district and finally tranquilize it and your Lordship
[obscured] some cause or other has placed me in Prison in close
[confinement], I am ready my Lord and willing to explain
[obscured] every part of my conduct and I am confident I can
[obscured] to your Lordships satisfaction

I am My Lord your Lordships Most Humble & obt Servt
Gravener Henson

Monday, 29 May 2017

29th May 1817: A writer to the Home Office tells of a Middleton man visiting the late Luddite trials

My Lord

I take leave to acquaint your Lordship that on the 15th March, in passing from Coventry to Birmingham by Coach, I accidentally got into the company of a man whose name I afterwards understood to be Bedford from a place called Middleton near Manchester

I again saw and had much conversation with the same Person on 21st and 22nd March at Leicester, and from whom I then understood that he was directed by his associates (the disaffected in and about Manchester) to attend the Trials of the Luddites there to collect any useful information that might transpire on the Trials of these men.—I appeared to have got entirely into the confidence this man, who told me that he intended going from Leicester to Nottingham and Sheffield, that at both of which places they had many Friends particularly at Sheffield, and at which place I appointed again to meet him, where he promised I should be introduced to some "good Fellows, friends to liberty"—So far I consider not worth troubling your Lordship about, but this man at Leicester shewed me the model (turned very neatly in wood) of a most ingenious Pike or Dagger, one part of which was intended to form the Head of a walking stick, and the other part a distinct Knife, and the very great facility with which it could be converted from Knife to Pike or Dagger was well conceived—he said that they had got several hundreds of the Head part manufactured at Birmingham, and at Sheffield they intended to have the Knife part manufactured, and that he intended when in Sheffield to get a few Friends together and to whom I was to be introduced.—

I remained at Sheffield from 25th to 31st March, and then went to Nottingham, and enquired for Bedford at the House he said he should be at there, but could hear nothing of him.—I returned to Sheffield on 5th April, and remained there until the 9th, but have not seen any thing more of this man, and am entirely unable to account for his not calling on me at Sheffield—I had a very good deal of conversation with him, particularly at Leicester, and which if it is at all desirable to your Lordship to be made acquainted with, I shall have great pleasure in communicating, if your Lordship will permit me to have a line addressed to me at Mr. Gwynne’s Solicitor’s office—Stamp office Somerset House, with your Lordship's commands on the subject

& I have [etc]

J Johnston

29th May 1817.

[To] Ld— Viscount Sidmouth