Friday, 11 July 2014

11th July 1814: George Coldham sends the FWK Union's seized papers to the Home Office

Nottingham 11th July 1814

Dear Sir,

I herewith send you for Lord Sidmouth’s Information a short memorandum or Note of the Contents of such of the Papers as have appeared upon our Inspection of them most material in Developing the nature & Extent of the late Operation of the Combination as applied to the Turning out & [support] [in] the Hands of Messrs Geo & John Ray in striking upon a Demand for an advance of Price which the very Members of the Combination now admit in all its Bearings have been exhorbitant. I also sent for Lord Sidmouth’s Inspection an Account of the Funds of the Society extracted from their Books during the Existence of the application of their [means] to the purpose above stated. The [main] press of the Exchequer has been [borrowing] [money] for the purpose of being applied to Manufacturing & by this means they have produced a great many Silk Hose which are now sent to London to be sold. When I wrote first you about these Papers I had considerable Doubts about the legality of the Seizure. I [ascertained] more [still] as to the probability of our Detaining them or rather our being enabled legally to do so beyond the Sessions I had therefore entertained a strong Opinion that it was necessary they should have been sent to Lord Sidmouth previous to the Sessions.

Those Doubts are now Dissipated by the Opinion of Mr. Balguy whom I have had an opportunity of consulting & who seems clearly to consider the Magistrates as justified in what they have done by the Contents of the Papers as upon the [same] Ground justified in retaining them after the Sessions. for ulterior operations against these Men. I Do not mean to Detract from the merits of the Secret Committee but I think it only justice to the Magistrates to state that the first Information upon which we could stand was derived from the Skill with which [they] examined Joseph Brookhouse one of Mr. Ray’s Hands (in [consequence] indeed of information given there by the secret Committee) & if the manner in which they Directed the Execution of the Warrant for the apprehension of the Committee

I am Dear Sir
Your’s very Obediently
Geo Coldham

[To John Beckett]

Monday, 7 July 2014

7th July 1814: George Coldham updates the Home Office on the conviction of the FWK Union officers

Nottm 7th July 1814.

Dear Sir,

In consequence of the hurry occasioned to me personally by many circumstances connected with Conviction of George Gibson & Thomas Judd two of the Committee of the existing Combination amongst the Frameworknitters I was not enabled to write to you yesterday to inform you of their Conviction. On Tuesday Evening late the Magistrates heard their Cases the third Person implicated in these Charges Samuel Simpson not having been apprehended & they convicted them both upon the Evidence of William Robinson the Warehouseman of Messrs Ray & Joseph Brookhouse Frameworknitter working for Mr Ray who had been employed by the Committee in collecting for receiving Money of the said Joseph Brookhouse for these illegal Purposes. As this was the first Prosecution under the Combination Act it was not thought politic to push the Conviction up to the full Extent the Law would have warranted either on the part of the Prosecution or the Magistrates & they were accordingly sentenced to 1 months Imprisonment to hard Labour. in the House of Correction. The papers are undergoing Examination & the Committee to whom I am Secretary would be glad to know whether Government or Lord Sidmouth would wish to see the originals in short have any Opinion to express respecting the Disposal of them. I do not think we have all the Papers belonging to this Society but what we have will enable a pretty good Guess to be formed of the Extent of their present Funds.

I hope a great Deal of good has been Done altho’ the Combination does not yet seem prepared to dissolve itself.

I am dear Sir

Yours very truly
Geo Coldham

[To John Beckett]

Saturday, 5 July 2014

5th July 1814: The Town Clerk of Nottingham informs the Home Office about the arrest of FWK Union officers and seizure of books

Nottm 5th July 1814.

Dear Sir,

I have the pleasure to inform you that for the Honour of the Police of this Town the Magistrates Mr Alderman Ashwell & Mr Alderman Coldham by their Warrants apprehended two of the Committee in their general weekly Night of Assembling & brought away all their Books & Papers which from the hasty looking at them we have yet been enabled to give contain the Accounts from 1812 the origin of the Union Society to the present moment but of this I cannot yet speak with any Confidence—Two of the Committee Tom Judd & George Gibson have been committed to Prison & the Hearing of the Convictions adjourned to this Afternoon at 5 oClock. All was affected by about 16 of our own Constables without Breach of the Peace

Yours very truly & obediently
Geo Coldham

[To John Beckett]

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

2nd July 1814: George Coldham reports an attempt to break the Framework-knitters Union

Nottingham 2d. July 1814

Dear Sir,

On Friday Sennight last we summoned before the Magistrates in the Name of Messrs Rays but in reality under the direction of the Secret Committee a great number of Mr Ray's Master Hands under a Charge made against them by the managing Warehouseman of Messrs Rays of having neglected their Work in the hope that these Men could have been induced as one Man to step forward & put an End to this nefarious Combination. At first we seemed likely to be successful—one of the Master Hands came forward & told us the plain Truth he acknowledged that he believed that [they could if this charge] put a Stop to these proceedings by forcing the Men to work & preventing the Contributions to the Combination but he called upon us to obtain for him a fair & reasonable proportion of the other Master Hands to act with him He expected their cooperation but he was mistaken there was only one other he [illegible] disposed to act a similar part tho’ [illegible] appeared devoted to the Combination & had committed themselves beyond the power of retracting. There was some Satisfaction in coming at the Truth altho’ it boded us much more trouble than we first anticipated. But we have taken up some also of Mr Ray's Journeymen in consequence of [being] possessed of some private Information respecting them & any of the [mouth] a few of these I obtained Information which implicated three of the leading Members of the Committee three of the leading Managers & Directors of the whole Society by Saturday I went over in consequence of this Information to Mr Balguy our Recorder my Notice was that we ought to spare with Expence or [spare] no Trouble if predictable to make the Blow sure. With this Impression strong upon me It occurred to me that it would be adviseable if possible to get Mr Balguy to attend the Magistrates on the Conviction of the Offenders who are liable on for a separate Charge to three month’s Imprisonment in order that in the first Instance they might be liberated if it was [illegible] that the thing would not hold Water & that if they could legally be convicted, the parties might comprehend that after an Appeal to the Sessions there was little hopes of Mr Balguy’s reversing his own Judgement. Mr Balguy however declined attending altho’ he was of opinion that the parties might be [convicted]. As however there was much nicety in the form of the Conviction I thought it but to proceed still with the [but] legal assistance at Hand & immediately wrote to Mr John Balguy to London to urge him to come down as soon as possible to attend upon the Magistrates at the Conviction as Counsel for the Crown. Mr John Balguy came down, & he is strongly of opinion we shall succeed. We have held a Consultation with him & with my Brother & Alderman Ashwell the two Aldermen who has taken upon themselves the Conduct of this Business & we have determined to enter upon the Business on Monday evening & to endeavour to seize the parties implicated on that Evening in the midst of their Papers & to take their [obscured] away along with them. It is much to be regretted [obscured] the Nottingham Gazette (whose violence I am sure can not be to them the most agreeable way of supporting Ministers) has published the Organization of the Society & the first Minutes of the Conference. If it had not there might have remained some doubts as to our course of Conduct but after this I can entertain no probable objections to our striking at over at the Committee The State of the Trade is putting them down & I hope they can't stand long but we [illegible] not I am well aware [illegible] our Vigilance on Account of any Appearance of Stillness

Your’s very truly
Geo Coldham

[To John Beckett]

Thursday, 26 June 2014

26th June 1814: Percy Shelley & Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin meet in St Pancras Churchyard

In the evening of Sunday 26th June 1814, the poet Percy Shelley met his lover, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin at the grave of Mary's mother, Mary Wollstonecraft in St Pancras churchyard, London. Although this location had become a regular meeting place, it was most likely this night that Mary declared her love for Shelley, and according to their journal entries, that they first made love, despite being chaperoned by Mary's half-sister, Claire Clairmont.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

21st June 1814: George Coldham updates the Home Office on strike action taken against Hosiers

Private & Confidential

Nottingham June 21st 1814

Dear Sir,

Ever since about the 26th of April the Effects of the Combination have been directed against the House of I & George Ray of this place who are Manufacturers of plain Silk Goods to a very great Extent but Manufacturers whom the Combination have thought most particularly assailable by them because they are not correspondent to the extent of their Business Proprietors of Frames but manufacture their Goods from what I hear called independent Frames. Such Persons are therefore at all times more dependent than the Owners of Frames upon the Master & Journeymen [Framework knitters]. The Blow which has been struck by the Combination upon this House is a very heavy one for it has reached to deprive them of the work of between 2 & 300 Hands. Messrs Ray were fully aware of the nature of their Situation & Mr John Ray the Partner here to whom the management of the Business of the Manufactory is almost exclusively confided was very much disposed to give the advanced Price demanded by the Combination with a view to prevent the temporary derangement of their Business. It was however very important to the Secret Committee & the Great Body of the Trade not only ultimately to frustrate the plans of the Combination but to prevent if possible [thus] succeeding in them as connected with the House of Messrs Ray. With this view I have been in constant communication & Treaty with Mr John Ray from the 24th of May to the present moment. There was considerable difficulties in the way of this arrangement. The Bulk of the Hosiers possess very considerable property in Frames & thro’ them contrive to acquire the entire Controul over their Workmen—perhaps the most effectual manner in which the Combination could coerce them was their former manner of carrying on War by destroying their Frames. Mr Ray however was not acceptable to this mode of attack, but that he was still more assailable by the System upon which they acted against him. They applied to the Workmen employed by him & they engaged these to leave off working to him unless he should advance their wages & to induce them to do this they undertook to pay their weekly wages for being idle or to employ them in preferring the Business of the Combination. Messrs Ray were not at all insensible to the Extent of the Value of their Opposition to the demands of the Workmen, to the rest of the Trade & indeed it is but Justice to them to admit that the consciousness of the in peculiar Situation with their Workmen had placed them in a very unpleasant predicament in this respect for Messrs Ray had proceeded in consequence of an Engagement as I believe with their Workmen to [date], the very advance which the Combination demanded & which the great Body of the Trade had referred to grant to the Frameworknitters. Mr John Ray therefore required of the secret Committee & the rest of the Trade that they should state these facts to the Publick in the manner more calculated to vindicate Messrs Ray & show the peculiar Ingratitude of the Attack of the Combinations as directed against those who had been the best Friends of the Workmen. This however the Secret Committee positively refused doing because they felt that it endangered the transferring the whole [Policy] of the refusal from Messrs Ray upon the rest of the Trade because it seemed in some degree to countenance the propriety of the advance demanded & because they were of opinion that they were other parts of the Conduct of Messrs Ray's Conduct to their Workmen which would admit of the Trade identifying themselves with the defence of their general Conduct to their workmen. In the difficulty which these clashing Opinions produced the Secret Committee appealed to a still larger Body of the Trade than themselves—& communicated from them to him a full & complete Vindication of the Conduct which the Secret Committee proposed to adopt. I had given up the whole arrangement for lost when on 16th of June I was fortunate enough with the Concurrence of the Secret Committee to come to an entire understanding with Mr John Ray effected I have little doubt in consequence of the sincere & zealous Cooperation received from the Committee in London. This agreement produced the printed Address from the Secret Committee which I inclose & it has also produced an Order from Mr Ray to his Warehouseman to give Evidence against some of the leading Master Frameworknitters with a view to the reaching thro’ them some of the most open reprehensible of the Workmen engaged in this Conspiracy not without since Hopes thro’ them of reaching some of the principal Actors in the Combination. This has only been done yesterday but I shall proceed without loss of time to try our legal Strength upon the Evidence by an Appeal to the Magistrates. In the mean time the support of the Combination by the great Body of the Trade seems evidently upon the decay for this Week there have been forced by their necessities to make their Collections in the Town & Country by 8 or 10 of the Hands who have used Threats to induce the Frameworknitters to keep up their usual Contributions. We had prepared a Hand Bill to set this matter a rest but upon a perfect knowledge of the manner in which the Pulse of the People beats the Secret Committee have adjourned the commencement of this Attack upon this part of the System of the Confederacy until Friday next I hope to obtain the Cooperation of the Magistrs to the same points & it will appear at the very same time when the Combination will also be attacked thro’ the medium of the Conviction of some of their Abetters either for neglecting their work or for being otherwise engaged in the Combination. In the mean time the Secret Committee are extremely impatient that they have learn’d no tidings of a Communication made by them very early indeed after their appointment to the Committee in London with a view to its being transmitted to Lord Sidmouth which communication contained some Hints of what they were of Opinion would be the best means of giving general legislative Relief from the dreadful Effects of such extensive Combination as the present. They would also be happy to hear from you as to the probable Period at which they might expect the disbanding of the Nottm Leicester & Derbyshire Regiments of Militia.

I am [etc]
Geo Coldham

[To] John Beckett Esqr

Monday, 16 June 2014

16th June 1814: A member of the Framework-knitters Union writes to a contact in Scotland

Nottm June 16. 1814


Having seen the letter you have sent to your Brother Timothy expressing the Disposition of the Trade of Dumfries to join their Friends in England in uniting themselves under the Union, I feel it my Duty to give you every Information on the Subject. You will see by the Articles that the intent of the Institution is to unite every branch for the support of each other in times of Distress. The Institution has been found to be very beneficial to every branch, as we have all received a small advance on our work except the Plain Silk hands, which we are now contending for; we have had 300 hands out of employ for more than 6 weeks because the Hosiers have not the honour to give a reasonable advance. The Hosiers have formed a powerful Combination against us, but this we have not cared for, we have persevered, and resolved to persevere until we accomplish the object in view which we hope is not far distant.

The Union is well established in Nottingham Derby and their Counties, and is making very rapid progress throughout Leicestershire, London, Godalming, Tewksbury and Northamptonshire have all formed themselves, and we have long wished to form an Interest in North Britain in order that the principle may be diffused throughout the North; and we are happy to find that Dumfries is anxious to set the example, and help when you have formed yourselves you will disseminate the principle through all Scotland; for depend upon it if the Trade are united and true to their own Interest, we shall be able to make our Trade as respectable as any other in the Kingdom and no longer be designated by the application of "Stracking Stockingers". According to request I have sent for Articles and 60 Deplomas, that you may form yourselves as soon as possible. I have taken the liberty to fill one of the Deplomas up for yourself in order that your Secretary may not be at a loss on that head. The Secy must place his name opposite to the number; I hope you will excuse us not writing sooner as we are now so strong, we have scarcely time to attend anything but the Turn out.

(Signed) S. Simpson

N.B. direct for me Newton’s Head, Glasshouse Lane Nottingham

16th June 1814: George Coldham issues handbill backing Hosiers hit by strike action

Nottingham, 16th June, 1814.

IT having been unanimously determined at a large and respectable Meeting of Hosiers, held in London, on the 21st day of April last, convened to take into consideration the propriety of a proposal then made for advancing the price of manufacturing Plain Silk Hose, that such advance should be resisted by the Trade at large; and that in consequence of the recent renewal of the practice of breaking frames, a Society should be formed for the purpose of prosecuting Framebreakers and other purposes connected therewith: and such determination having been sanctioned by the approbation of a subsequent very numerous and highly respectable Meeting of the Hosiers and Lace Manufacturers resident in this Town, held in Nottingham, on the 18th day of May last for the same purposes; at which last Meeting a Committee, Secretary, and Solicitor, were appointed for the conduct and management of the general business of the Society then instituted. And it appearing to that Committee, that in consequence of the adherence of the House of G. and I. Ray to the general determination of the Trade not to give the advance price, that the Plain Silk Workmen of that House since the 26th day of April last,—and that subsequently part of the Plain Silk Hands of Beardmores and Parker, have combined together and ceased to work, with a view to compel those Houses to give the advance. The Committee appointed by the Meeting held in Nottingham on the 18th day of May last, being fully aware that the Houses of Messrs G. and I. Ray, the Beardmores and Parker, have suffered inconvenience—been rendered unpopular and much harassed by the combination, in consequence of acting in conformity with the unanimous opinion of the Meetings of the persons engaged in the Manufactory; have felt it their duty to declare that it is still the full purpose and resolution of the Trade in general, in conjunction with the aforesaid Houses, to resist the advance of price—to decline every appearance of a compromise or settlement thereof—and to pursue all legal means to break up a combination so fatal to the true interests of Hosiers and Framework-knitters.—

The Committee for themselves and the great body of the Plain Silk Hose Manufacturers feel bound to refuse employment to any Workman who shall appear to have struck for an advance of wages, and who are otherwise engaged in this illegal combination; and to give every assistance and support to the Houses of G. and I. Ray, and Beardmores and Parker, by every accommodation in their power with respect to the conduct of their Trade, so long as they shall be the object of attack by the present combination.

By Order of the Committee,

GEO. COLDHAM, Secretary.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

7th June 1814: George Coldham updates the Home Secretary on the Hosiers' Secret Committee

My Lord

Nottingham 7th June 1814.—

Soon after the appointment of the Secret Committee by a very numerous Meeting of the Hosiers and Lace Manufacturers of this Town I had the honour of communicating for your Lordships Information the manner in which that appointment was made and my opinion of the Gentleman who constituted it. I then represented that the state of the Manufacture here called for some controuling and energetic Representatives of the whole body of the Manufacturers whose safety and whose success would depend upon the concealment of their personal Identity.—I certainly flattered myself that your Lordship’s good Opinion of me would give some weight to the Opinion which I had taken the liberty to express respecting these Gentlemen, but I was aware that much more weight was attached to the manner of their Appointment which however it might be purposely enveloped in mistery carried upon the face of it strong and imperious title to Confidence because it was impossible that any but persons of the most unquestionable integrity and ability could be so appointed or venture to accept and act upon such an Appointment.—I can not notwithstanding say, that I was satisfied with the extent of the Information I was impowered to give to your Lordship on the subject of this Committee and I made the communication in a certain degree confidentially to Mr. Beckett with the express purpose of inviting the expression of his private opinion to me upon the subject if it should appear to him incomplete.—I have however received no hint from him on this subject as I should always gladly do if he will at any time do me the favour of addressing himself to me confidentially.—I have now no hesitation to state to your Lordship that it was not in my power then to give that complete information of the members of the Committee which I could have wished as being most respectful to you because one of the Secret Committee Mr. Matthew Needham was out of Town when he was appointed and he did not return till Friday last and had not determined finally upon accepting the appointment until Sunday, and I am sure your Lordship will perceive that I could not make the names of these Gentleman known without their express permission so to do.—I therefore could not know but that the whole Constitution of the Committee might be disarranged until Mr Needham's acceptance of the Office.—I have now the authority of the Secret Committee to state to your Lordship for your own Government, with an express understanding that this communication is made in the confidence that it will not be communicated to any one except Mr. Beckett or the persons about your Lordship to whom it may be necessary that it should be known that the originally appointed Secret Committee consist of Thomas Carpenter Smith of Nottingham, Matthew Needham of Lenton Esquire and Joseph Churchill of Nottingham and that they have agreeable to a power vested in them appointed John Parker Junr. and Mr. James Hooley who are not known to the Constituents of the Secret Committee here to be members of it and by these Gentlemen all the business of this Committee assisted by myself has been conducted.—

I have [etc]
Geo Coldham

[To Lord Sidmouth]

Monday, 2 June 2014

2nd June 1814: The Earl of Lauderdale reassures Francis Raynes that his case will be neither 'forgot nor neglected'

Captain Francis Raynes was still doggedly pursuing a reward for his services in the West Riding & Lancashire. On Thursday 2nd June, The Earl of Lauderdale (the brother of General Maitland) sent him a letter from London:

London, June 2. [1814]


I lost no time on receiving your letter of the 30th, of speaking to Lord Sidmouth, on the subject of your situation and reasonable expectations, and I must do him the justice to say, that he expressed to me the greatest anxiety to have an opportunity of appointing you to some office, such as he conceived your services merited.—It is impossible to say when such an opportunity may occur; but you may rely upon the case neither being forgot nor neglected.       

I am, Sir,
Your most obedient humble Servant,


[To] Capt. Raynes.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

28th May 1814: The Stirlingshire Militia leave the West Riding

On Saturday 28th May 1814, after a stay of 15 months, the Stirlingshire Militia left the West Riding for North Berwick. The Militia was the unit of Captain Francis Raynes.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

27th May 1814: Leicestershire Frameworkknitters publish petition for new prices

THE Humble Petition of the Workmen, engaged in Plain, German-ribbed, Berlin, Cord, Jackwarps, &c. Framework-knitted Pieces. To the Gentleman Hosiers, engaged in the manufacturing of such goods.


Your Petitioners beg leave to state, that the price of their labour has at various times been reduced, particularly about three years ago, and the reason assigned to such reduction was, the very low and depressed state of the trade. Impressed with the force of your reasoning, your Petitioners cheerfully submitted to the privations consequent upon such reduction, under an implied persuasion from yourselves, that, when the cause ceased, the effect itself would be removed. The happy and unexpected change has taken place on the Continent of Europe has brightened up every prospect—given an irresistible impetus to commerce, and restored trade to its wonted happy tone. Your Petitioners, therefore humbly submit to your consideration, that their present application for the undernamed prices, will not be considered as ill-timed by your respectable body; which prices were drawn up at a Meeting held at Hathern, Leicestershire, the 16th of May instant, consisting of the deputies from fourteen towns and villages.

Signed on behalf of the Meeting,
DANIEL ROPER, Secretary.

List of Prices solicited to be paid.
Plain peices, 80 gauge, 18 inches wide, per yard 0s. 11d.
German ribs, fine 2s. 1d.
Ditto, sham 1s. 10d.
Ditto, coarse 1s. 7d.
Single loop, sham 0s. 11d.
Ditto, coarse 0s. 10d.
Raised cord, fine 2s. 3d.
Ditto, sham 2s. 0d.
Ditto, coarse 1s. 9d.
Berlin, worsted 2s. 0d.
Double hipped cord 2s. 9d.
Treble ditto 3s. 0d.
Double bar 3s. 3d.
Jackwarps, fine 2s. 3d.
Ditto, sham 2s. 0d.
Ditto, coarse 1s. 9d.

N.B. The Workmen also most earnestly solicit that their work may be paid for by the RACK, which is admitted by all to be an undeviating standard of justice.

Monday, 26 May 2014

26th May 1814: The Reverend Becher reports a meeting with Leicestershire magistrates to the Home Office

26 May 1814.

Dear Sir,

I have been prevented from communicating with the Rev. Mr. Storey by the absence of his Son from this County. Yesterday however Mr. John Story who acts as a Magistrate both for Nottinghamshire & Leicestershire & Mr. Philip [Storer] who act for the latter County, waited upon me.—As Mr. Philip Story was present when his father took the depositions transmitted to Lord Sidmouth and had examined very minutely the premises at Donnington when the outrage was committed, we [informed] very fully upon the subject. They had very much over-ated the pecuniary resources of the Union Society; and were of opinion that much might have been effected towards discovering the Offenders by sending down some intelligent Magistrate or some Bow Street Officer—as to the funds of the Society I convinced them that their amount had been much exaggerated; and on stating the result of the visit made by Mr. Conant & Mr. Baker to Nottingham & the Bow Street Officers who I knew had been identified by the Delegates for the express purpose of avoiding them,—I think I convinced them that our own personal exertions must constitute the chief instrument towards the preservation of the peace & the punishment of offenders.—At the same time I mentioned that I had been expressly desired by you take the earliest opportunity of assuring Mr. Story, that Lord Sidmouth entertained an earnest disposition to afford the Magistracy in the disturbed Counties every countenance & support that could be consistently granted for protecting the civil authorities in their endeavours to bring the perpetrators of the prevailing outrages to justice—This appeared quite satisfactory—[The] Mrs Storys lamented the terror pervading the Manufacturers as well as the workmen who may have incurred the displeasure of the Society; but I could not discover that they had devised or collected any suggestions that were likely to conclude towards the detection of the principals or the suppression of the mischief.—

Unless you instruct me to the contrary I shall prosecute my enquiries with unabating vigilance & assiduity but will not trouble you unless when some occurrence of importance authorises me to address you

I have [etc]
John T. Becher.

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

Saturday, 24 May 2014

24th May 1814: The Reverend JT Becher writes to the Home Secretary with his views about the Framework-knitters Union

24th May 1814

Dear Sir,

In conformity with our arrangements I have abstained from trespassing upon your attention until I found myself enabled to state some of the circumstances materially connected with the offences prevailing in the County of Nottingham.—

The Union Society, as it is styled, does not conceal its existence; altho the printed regulations with which I supplied you are no longer to be procured.—The principal leader is stated to be Grosvenor Henson,—the man alluded to by T. Large in his letter some time since addressed to me.—Henson does not now work at his trade, but is maintained by the association at a weekly allowance of about three guineas.—In connection with him are many desperate characters, who are strongly suspected of being the Frame-breakers and the Instruments of popular vengeance upon all who, in the language of the Society, are "denounced."—The names of the ruffians are very carefully concealed; and as their number is small I entertain little expectation of detecting them until they have been emboldened by success & impunity to the perpetration of more frequent or more tumultuous outrages.—It is not imagined that this Nottingham Gang has ever been broken by the prosecutions formerly instituted;—and the terror impressed upon the minds of the Manufacturers by the existence of such a daring conspiracy has placed the Masters in a state of almost unqualified submission to the demands of the workmen who dictate their own terms.— —Every branch of the Lace & Hosiery trades is represented by a set of delegates; and these Sub-committees hold a regular communication with the grand Executive Committee.—The subordinate Committees are but little acquainted with the application of the sums contributed; or the purposes of the Society: they merely profess that they expect to procure some beneficial changes on behalf of the working Mechanics.—Mr. Nixon ascribes the demolition of his frames to the modification of the Frame-breaking Bill by substituting transportation for life instead of capital punishment at the renewal of the Act; with which alteration I was not acquainted until he mentioned it.—However, altho I regret the mitigation of punishment I cannot entirely agree with Mr. Nixon since many of the machines have been destroyed under circumstances of disguise & violence amounting to a capital Felony.—He feels convinced that the order for demolishing his frames was issued by Henson; and that the evidence which he gave against the bill for regulating the Framework knitting trade & his non compliance with the exorbitant demands of his workmen other sources of provocation.—He has now been compelled to advance the prices of labor in defence of his property tho the Nottingham Hosiers are manufacturing at from 10 to 20 percent above those at Tewkesbury, and the rate of workmanship is such as to preclude the prospect of a successful competition with the foreign markets.—

In the Silk Stocking trade all the Workmen of Mr. Ray have struck because he rejected their application for an increase of wages.—

The Framesmiths have discounted their employments for similar reasons, and are collecting money to sustain themselves.—

The Bricklayers encouraged by the success of the journeymen in the Hosiery trade are endeavouring to affect their purposes by a conspiracy of this date same description.—I enclose one of the hand bills which they are now diligently circulating.—The Title & Style of the address as well as the Printer's name, testify clearly its origin.

Such an extensive system of subordination & terror will, I conceive, be deemed incompatible with the existence of our manufactures: and apprised as we are of the industry & success with which these principles are disseminated among mechanics of every description throughout the empire the expediency of some remedy will unquestionably be acknowledged.

To devise the means of prevention constitutes the difficulty.—Specific regulations between the Masters & the workmen appear to be utterly impracticable.—Labor must find its own value in the market—but the standard ought to be established by free competition, unrestricted by combination on either side.—With this view I have strenuously urged some of the manufacturers to prefer an application to Parliament.—They speak in very grateful terms the attention dedicated by Lord Sidmouth & yourself to their case; and will, I am assured, avail themselves of your countenance.

To render the Bill palatable the Masters as well as the Men should be prohibited from combinations; and to secure efficiency the existing punishments should be considerably augmented.—

For my own part I attribute the late as was as the present outrages to those jacobinical principles with which the Inferior orders have been sedulously inoculated by our Nottingham Reformers; who have, in many instances, become the object of that secret organization & malevolent confederacy which they fostered by their pernicious examples, their licentious harangues & their seditious press for the attainment of their fractious projects.—

Thus have the evils, of which I complain, been introduced & cherished until they have become intimately incorporated with the state of society in this and other manufacturing districts. I do not apprehend that the result will produce any general tumult but I forsee that the ferment will not subside without it be coerced by the interposition of the legislature.

Circumstances seem to require that the law be armed with more extensive powers, adapted to the emergency; and that some formidable examples of punishment be exhibited whenever an opportunity presented for bringing the Offenders to Justice. [For] until these Confedericies which are the source of all our mischief be suppressed we never can hope to close the scenes which have too long disgraced this County.—

I have requested Mr. Allsopp who is now in London to wait upon you.

I enclose the only two pieces information which he has hitherto been able to procure.—The "Minutes of the annual conference." seem to be drawn up with a design of giving something like a lawful appearance the objects of the Society.

I have [etc]

John T. Becher.

John Beckett Esq.—

Friday, 23 May 2014

23rd May 1814: The Town Clerk of Nottingham offers his views on breaking the stockingers Union to the Home Secretary

Nottingham 23d May 1814.

My Lord,

As Secretary to the Committee lately appointed by the Hosiers of Nottingham in consequence a publick Meeting in London of Gentlemen connected with this Manufactory in order to oppose the present alarming & dangerous Combination amongst the Frameworknitters, I am Directed with the utmost diffidence & respect to suggest to your Lordship’s consideration that it has occurred to the Committee that the immediate Disbanding (if it could be accomplished without any material Inconvenience to his Majesty’s Service) of the Leicester & Nottingham & Derbyshire Regiments of Militia but particularly the Nottingham Regiment would very much tend to frustrate the System upon which the Nottingham Union Society is at present acting. They have lately compelled large Masses of the Frameworknitters working for different Hosiers to strike & give over working for them. Already the Hands of Messrs J & G Ray & Co. have/at their Suggestion or Command—It is rumoured that they are about to force the Hands of another [Hosier] thereof Beardmore & Co. to come to similar Determination—Under these circumstances the more Frameworknitters were at Home in a Situation to receive Work. the more equal would the Hosiers be to meet the Effects of this formidable Combination & the more likely would they be to find Persons ready to supply the places of those whom these Committees may be enabled to persuade to act upon this System. Every Acession of Numbers of Persons wanting Employment which can be sent home & placed in such a Situation as to be enabled to supply the Deficiencies in the regular Workmen with Drawn from their Masters by the Combination must in the Judgement of the Committee be a powerful occasion of Embarrassment to the System which the Frameworknitters are pursuing. If they go to work upon their usual Terms with their old Employers they make it difficult if not impossible for the Goods manufactured by the Frameworknitters to sell the Goods produced by their manufacturing Committee & if there is a want of Sale there must be an immediate Stop put to the Manufactory on account of the impossibility of obtaining the raw material for any other purpose that the manufacturing Goods which have an immediate Sale. If they [illegible] which might be thus added to the Population here Dependent upon the Manufactoury should join the Combination they must either find them work or a supply of money & to do other will necessarily lead to embarrass their System or exhaust their Resources—I hope your Lordship will excuse my stating these Circumstances for your Consideration. The Committee leave them with your Lordship under a persuasion that you will have the Goodness if it should be practicable to give them their Attention which they may appear to your Lordship to deserve—

I have [etc]
Geo Coldham

[To Lord Sidmouth]

Thursday, 22 May 2014

22nd May 1814: The Town Clerk of Nottingham informs the Home Office of a secret committee to combat the stockingers Union

Private & confidential

22d May 1814

Dear Sir,

I write you to inform you that on Wednesday last a very numerous Meeting of the Hosiers was held at the Police Office Tavern at which a very liberal Subscription sett on foot to counteract the formidable Combination in force & Activity amongst the Frameworknitters. At this Meeting a secret Committee was appointed upon the Plan which was last year adopted by the Corporation by a very small number of the original Meeting selected by the Chairman without the knowledge of the Body forming the meeting & this select Number nominated the Committee which consists of a still smaller & in fact very inconsiderable Number. I am sure you are aware how essential Secrecy is to the Success of our measures & and how imperious a Duty it is upon me as the Secretary of this Committee. I have however the greatest pleasure of stating to you that the Members of this Committee are Gentlemen of the greatest respectability & upon whom collectively & individually Government may [repose] the most unlimited Confidence. I write to you my Dear Sir entirely from myself with a view to your Information & [certainly] for the Information thro’ your medium of Lord Sidmouth and Invite on your part any confidential communication of the wishes of Government in relation to this Committee—I have reason to think that you will before this have reason to know that this Committee has not been idle since its appointm’ I can assure you it has occupied a great deal of my time.—I am sure you will perceive that it is essential to my Situation you should have the Goodness to withhold from every Person whatever connected with the corresponding Committee in London any letter of a confidential nature from me which may have relation to the secret Committee here or the communications made by them to the London Committee. I have no doubt you will be put in possession of the Opinion of the Secret Committee here by Mr Thomas Hayne as far as it has been embodied in writing but if I can collect it right I think it its operation against the Union Society entirely opposed any publick Declarations of the purpose of its Formation & hopeless if affecting anything in the present State of the Law by Intimidation.

It’s plan is obtain Information and to act upon it by calling upon the executive Power to appeal to the Legislature for such an amendment of the Law as they may Deem adequate to remedy the Evil. The Committee here are Desirous of leaving the mode of redress & the active obtaining of it to Government as a general measure of Legislature necessary from the general System of Combination amongst the Mechanics throughout the Kingdom. The present formidable State of the Combined force here would make the active management of such a Bill in Parliament as they would think essential to the Security of the Manufacturers [a] matter of extreme Danger to any Manufacturer who might be daring [enough] to undertake it. & I Doubt whether any could be found bold enough to Do it. I am however writing entirely from myself & solely with the wish to apprize you of the Impression & feelings under which I am Dispose to think the Committee must necessarily be acting. I hope that we shall be enabled to obtain much useful Information as we now have now a Fund at our Disposal & shall not fail to avail ourselves of it & the neighbouring Towns I am happy to say are following our Example.

Yours very obediently

Geo Coldham

[To John Beckett]

Monday, 19 May 2014

19th May 1814: Nottingham framesmiths convicted of under-employment

On Thursday 19th May 1814 at Nottingham, 3 journeyman framesmiths were convicted for not working for 8 days before the Mayor, John Allen and Alderman Edward Swann.

William Holmes, William Hedger & William Cockayne were sentenced to 6 weeks hard labour in the House of Correction.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

18th May 1814: Combination laws used against scythemakers in Derbyshire

On Wednesday 18th May 1814, nine scythemakers were convicted under the Combination Acts of organising in Derbyshire with a view to an increase in wages. Two Derbyshire JPs, Sir William Chambers Bagshaw & Joshua Jebb sentenced them to three months in the County Gaol. Their names were John Fox, Joseph Martin, John Reaney senior & John Reaney junior & George Richardson (all from Norton, Derbyshire), John Fox & Samuel Fox (from Gleadless in Yorkshire), James Turner (from Sheffield) and John Bingham (of Greenhill in Derbyshire).

Friday, 16 May 2014

16th May 1814: William Hay sends the spy John McDonald's memorial to the Home Secretary

No. 31 Clipstone Street 16th May 1814

My Lord,

At the request of the Magistrates at Manchester I have the honor to enclose a memorial from John Macdonald, petitioning for some compensation for his services during the disturbances in 1812. I understand that he was out between two and three months, and that his expences out of pocket were paid, but no recompense has been afforded him. Not being able to judge what might be considered as a proper sum for him, should Government think him entitled to the prayer of his memorial, I desired that the Magistrates would favor me with their opinion on that head; that opinion I take the Liberty of enclosing. Col. Silvester and Mr. Wright were present when the Commission was given by Genl. Maitland, and a promise made that the parties to be sent should be paid by Genl. Maitland. I heard of it immediately afterwards, and was present at the York Assizes when John McDonald gave his evidence – it appeared to me that he had been very active, and in situations at considerable peril—

I have [etc]
William Robert Hay

The Right Honourable
Lord Visct. Sidmouth
One of H. Ms principal Secretaries of State &c &c

Monday, 12 May 2014

[After 11th] May 1814: George Coldham proposes suspending licenses for Public Houses to disrupt FWK Union meetings


Dear Sir.

I have written to Lord Sidmouth by the Direction of the Magistrates of Nottingham by this Post on the Subject of their proposed procedure in relation to the General Annual Renewal of the Licences. On Tuesday it had been nearly Detemined that we should on the Wednesday commence by an Examination of every Victualler as to the Clubs &c kept at his House & there appeared a very unanimous Opinion that the Good to arise from such a mode of procedure would over balance the Inconvenience. Previous to our Meeting on Wednesday I called upon Mr Alsopp thinking by no means an improper subject upon which to have the advantage of his Judgement. Mr Alsopp seemed decidedly unimpressed with the notion that we were in Danger by this line of acting of exciting a Terror on the part of the Associates which would or might render them so far to change their places of meeting as to render useless the Degree of Information on this subject of which we are at present possessed & that if it is Drove them from the Publick to private it would be more likely to veil their future proceedings from us—I communicated this opinion to Mr Ashwell & my Brothers & upon in consequence we agreed to suspend the Licences for a week in order to have an opportunity of obtaining in the meantime Lord Sidmouth’s Judgement upon this point & with a Determination to be regulated thereby. I since understand from Alderman Ashwell that Mr Alsopp has considered softened in the Degree at least of his objection to this measure if he has not changed it into one which is confined to the mode & manner in which the Investigation should be conducted. But I think it not impossible that Lord Sidmouth may hear from this on the subject. I think that I can procure Information here from a Frameworknitter if I can be authorized to pass him so much as would nearly support him here in Nottingham. He can be Depended upon & I therefore wish you to counsell Lord Sidmouth & to learn from him if I may look to remuneration as to any Sums of Money I can expend in this way I am also embarked in an Expence with two of our confidential Constables here in some matters from which I expect very important & favourable results in obtaining Information I will thank you to let me know whether I may expect to be repaid what I may pay them on this Account. I am sure that from their Connection with me none can command their Services so effectually or at a more reasonable rates of compensation

I am Dear Sir
Your’s most faithfully & obedly
Geo Coldham

[To John Beckett]