Wednesday, 10 September 2014

10th September 1814: Letters to the press about Joanna Southcott's 'pregnancy'

Both of these letters appeared in the Leeds Mercury of Saturday 10th September 1814, in a column entitled 'Extracted from the Courier':


TO THE EDITOR.—SIR,—Several persons having expressed a wish that I should visit Joanna Southcott, that they might be better satisfied what foundation there was for a report that she was pregnant, I consented to accompany one of her friends, a surgeon and accoucheur of experience, for that purpose, on the 18th of August. He informed me on my way thither, that the most satisfactory examination would not be permitted, but that it was not at all necessary, as no professional man could have any doubt of her situation, upon seeing the state of her breasts.

Their appearance gave no reason to doubt the truth of her statement, that she was in her 65th year, and that certain natural effects had ceased since she was 48; circumstances under which her pregnancy was naturally incredible, and were it real, might well enough have induced a belief that it was supernatural.

I endeavoured, however, not to prejudge the case, but to form and my opinion of her situation from the symptoms alone, as I should have done had she been only 45 years of age, and therefore within the period of probable pregnancy.

After a minute statement of particulars of his examination of the woman, the writer concludes thus:—

Considering all the above appearances, I did not hesitate to declare it to be my opinion, that Joanna Southcott was not pregnant, but I was told that I was the first medical man that had seen her, who was not perfectly satisfied of the contrary.

I believe that her uterine organs are diseased, and that the breasts, as is usual, sympathising with those parts, have an increased quantity of blood determined to them. Had I thought the external appearances such as ought to lead to a belief in her pregnancy, I should have urged the propriety of submitting to a more satisfactory examination; but feeding, as I did, a perfect conviction that she was not with child, it seemed to me unnecessary to insist upon any further enquiry.

Having observed in the newspapers, that assertions are repeatedly made, the eminent accoucheurs have declared this woman to be pregnant, I am desirous not to be reckoned of that number. Yet, before I conclude, I feel right to say that I am convinced that this poor woman is no imposter, but that she labours under a strong mental delusion.


Sept. 3, 1814.


SIR,—In a Morning Paper the 30th ult. a Medical Gentleman, the signature of J. C. H., states, that "he should not be doing his duty to those poor deluded people, who are in the belief of John Southcott, and the public at large, were he not, after having an opportunity of seeing her, to state the result of such a visit." He then complains "of an imposition that was tried to be practised on him; or rather a trap, in which he had like to have been caught." This trap, it seems, was a request made by Joanna Southcott, that in giving his opinion, he should consider her a married woman of 24 years of age, and divest his mind of all prejudice respecting her inspiration. Now, Sir, I should suppose that a Medical Man employed on such an occasion, would pay no attention whatever to the statement of a woman, who was represented in all the Journals to be an impostor: one would suppose that he would have attended to those symptoms only, the existence of which he had an opportunity to ascertain. Mr. J. C. H. who I understand is Mr. Hobday, of Ratcliffe Highway, was allowed to make the same examination as was afforded to the other Medical Gentlemen who attended her, on which he has thought proper to be silent. Joanna Southcott, I find, was examined by nine medical practitioners of some eminence in London, six of whom pronounced her to be pregnant, and the other three declined to give a decided opinion, principally on account of her age. [Here the writer enters into some particulars which it is not necessary for us to repeat. He concludes thus:]

As the medical men who have attended Joanna Southcott, has to be apprised of her labour when it takes place, I hope they will all attend. Indeed, so far from being her wish to have it conducted privately, I know that applications have been made to the Archbishop of Canterbury, to appoint a person to attend her accouchment, and to procure for her a suitable apartment, which his Grace has refused to do, under the idea that such a measure would tend to confirm her followers in the belief of her inspiration. The pregnancy of a woman in the 65th year of her age, is in modern times a novel occurrence, and deserves to be recorded. With respect to the operation of the law, I consider it worthy of notice, causes having been determined in the House of Lords against claimants born in foreign countries, on the presumption that their mothers were at the time of their birth, too far advanced in life to bear children, although one (Lady Jane Grey) was about ten years younger than Joanna Southcott. If then, in this point of view, the case of Joanna Southcott be interesting, it is of great consequence that its authenticity should not be called in question at any future period. For the purpose of avoiding deception, and any ground for suspicion or misrepresentation, might not he Lord Chancellor with great propriety, take her under his protection, place her in decent apartments, and appoint accoucheurs of experience and respectability to attend her? Such an interference could not possibly be considered by her followers as in any degree countenancing the marvellous part of the business. Of this plan, I understand her followers, and I think I may say the public in general, would approve.

I am Sir, your obedient servant,


171, Picadilly, Sept. 2, 1814.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

4th September 1814: 16 stocking frames destroyed in Old & New Basford

On Sunday 4th September, just before midnight on the 5th, around 20 Luddites undertook a series of raids in both Old and New Basford in Nottinghamshire.

At the house of Thomas Ford in Old Basford, the group demolished 5 frames. The Luddites moved on to the house of James Smith in the same town, where they destroyed 5 cotton frames.

Moving to New Basford, the Luddites went to the home of Thomas Garton, and destroyed 6 frames there. Within a week, a man had been arrested after Garton gave testimony that he recognised one of the Luddites: his name was James Towle, and he was to become one of the most notorious figures in Midlands Luddism for the next 2 years.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

3rd September 1814: 'Some Account of Joanna Southcott, the Pretended Propehtess'

This 'Passport to Heaven' from 1803 was sold at Bonhams in 2007 for £2520

From the Leeds Mercury of Saturday 3rd September 1814:


In the following summary of the prophetic origin and history of Joanna Southcott, it is not only my intention to submit any other information than what is to be found in writing.

In the year 1790 she was employed as a work-woman at an upholsterer’s shop in Exeter. The shopkeeper being a methodist, his shop was frequently visited by ministers of the same persuasion; and Joanna Southcott, possessing what they termed a serious turn of mind, did not pass unnoticed. She had frequent discussions in the shop with these ministers, and was regarded as a prodigy. Indeed, so much was she sensible of her own importance and superiority, that, with the aid of a few dreams, and some extraordinary visions, she began to self to think herself inspired. But what confirmed her in this belief was, the realization of a circumstance which she had been forewarned of in a vision—it was the miraculous seal. One morning, in sweeping out the shop (it is not stated whether or not she had a miraculous broom), she found a seal, with the initials J.S.; this could not possibly mean any other person than Joanna Southcott. From this moment she bid adieu to the shop, and commenced a prophetess. In a first prophecies she states, that in 1792 she was visited by the Lord, who promised to enter into an everlasting covenant with her, and told her that a vision would be shewn to her in the night. It accordingly appeared, sometimes like a cup, then like a cat, which she kicked to pieces, but was very uneasy, until she was told it was nothing more than the tricks of Satan, with a view to torment her. On the appearance of her first prophecies, the methodist preachers, already adverted to, endeavoured to convince her of the diabolical nature of her attempts; and attributed their origin to Satan himself. She then appointed an interview with as many as might choose to attend, in order to put the question to rest. The day arrived; the discussion was warm; and she adopted the argumentum ad hominem with such effect, that it terminated in the following valuable document, subscribed to by all parties present:—

“I, Joanna Southcott, am clearly convinced that my calling is of God, and my writings are indicted by his spirit, as it is impossible for any spirit, but an all-wise God, that is wondrous in working, wondrous in wisdom, wondrous in power, wondrous in truth, could have brought round such mysteries, so full of truth, as in my writings; so I am clear in whom I have believed, that all my writings come from the spirit of the most High God.


Signed in the presence of 58 persons (including the Methodist Preachers) who assented to the truth of the statement.

From this period her converts increased surprisingly, so that she could not furnish seals sufficient to answer all demands. The sealed papers contain a text of scripture (not uniformly the same) promissory of beatitude hereafter, stamped with the seal found in the upholsterer’s shop. The sealed person is forbidden to open the paper, lest the charm should be destroyed. That money has been given for these passports to Heaven I do positively assert, but that they are publicly or openly sold, I am not prepared to affirm. Those who would wish to inform an opinion of Joanna Southcott from her writings, need only purchase a 1s. 6d. number from Mr. Sharp the engraver, or Mr. Tozer, (one of her preachers), of the Westminster-road.

The three leading preachers were, Mr. Carpenter, (who preaches at the ‘House of God,’ Newington Butts), Mr. S.P. Foley (said to be a relation of Lord Foley), and Mr. Tozer; the former (Mr. Carpenter) has seceded from his Mistress, and afterwards employed a young man to see visions for him on his own account, but provided for by one of his flock. The two latter preachers still hold forth in Johanna’s interest, at a church near the Obelisk in Westminster-road.

With regard to the doctrines of Joanna Southcott, it is no very easy matter to arrive at a knowledge of them. They are not to be found in her works; for they are all of a prophetic, mysterious, ambiguous, blasphemous, or illiterate description. All that I have been able to collect from her preachers or admirers, relates to a second redemption of mankind through the medium of her writings and deeds; that her coming is called the Second Advent; that when the number of her followers amounts to (we believe) 300,000, then the objects of her mission will be for the most part accomplished—then all who admit the truth of her writings will be blessed, and those who deny them condemned to everlasting torment. She also asserts that the salvation of mankind would not be complete without a second redemption wrought in her person.


3rd September 1814: Casualties to machinery in Leeds in the last week

From the Leeds Mercury, Saturday 3rd September 1814:

The following casualties have occurred during the present week, at Hunslet, near this place.―A young woman lost her arm at a cotton-mill; a boy was desperately bruised by the machinery at a flax mill; and another boy lost his leg from getting entangled in the works of a steam engine.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

31st August 1814: Letter from 'A Priest' to the 'Editor of the Nottingham Gazette'



SIR—Walking near the rock-holes in the park, early this morning, I picked up the inclosed manuscript, which, as it was "unwafered and unsealed," I had the curiosity to open; and must confess, that the reading of it had such an effect upon my risible faculties, as for a moment, to drive the morning devotional thoughts from my mind. I found it addressed to the Editor of the Gazette, and having heard that an advertisement had been posted up in different parts of Nottingham, offering a reward for the recovery of a "Lost Manuscript," I thought the Editor might have lost it there a night or two before. Reflecting on the oddity of the circumstance, the words amor mertricor, meretrix inusia lues venerea came forcibly into my head. I determined, however, to take the article to the office; but when I got there, the offered reward was refused, because the author, I was told, had furnished another copy; I therefore send it to you for the perusal of your readers.

Your’s, &c.

August 31, 1814.


Sir—Having been a constant reader of your luminous publication, permit me to say, that I have perused the efforts of your transcending genius with ecstatic pleasure; and have viewed your matchless triumphs over the cold-water Tory and Jacobin factions, that is over the readers of the Journal and Review, with supreme delight. At a period when a Jacobinical war raged around the kingdom, and a not less cruel, and still more dangerous one raged within, which was carried on by mysterious gangs of depredators, called Luddites, at this period you commenced your arduous labours. Your laudable and professed object was, to crush the monster Bonaparte and his myrmydon follower, and all the Luddites, with the magic of your pen; and to convert the cold-water Tories and Jacobins, into ranting true-blue Royalists; whilst the incorrigible Burdett, Whitbread, Brougham, Cochrane, Cobbett, White, Hunt, Drakard, Lovell, Cartwright, Wood, and Waithman, along with John Smith, Lord Radcliffe, the Political Scribe, and the Rev. Editor, you were to muzzle or confine in strong holds. And, worthy Sir, have you not succeeded?—have you not driven Bonaparte to Elba, and his man-eating myrmydons into the mouths of the Cossacks?—have you not proved this wife, the daughter of the Apostolic Emperor, to be a prostitutum; and the wife of our immaculate Regent to belong to the Cyprian sisterhood?—nay, have you not driven her into exile, as too dangerous an animal to remain on British soil?—have you not laid every Luddites prostrate at your feet, and made them lick the dust in sorrow and anguish?—have you not driven the cold-water Tories into hiding places, with faces as long as a maypole?—have you not silenced the Burdetts, Whitbreads, Broughams, Cobbetts, Whites, Hunts, Drakards, Lovells, Woods, Waithmans, Smith, Rancliffes, Political Scribes, and Reverend Editors, and driven the troublesome Cochrane into a dungeon–have you not cleared the very Pig-styes of their filth, though you got a little soiled in the operation?—have you not rendered an essential service to society, by discovering and practising a new mode of chastisement in Sunday Schools for girls in their teens, for which a saucy cobler was silly enough to threaten you with the vengeance of this lap stone and strap?—have you not almost ruined the Review, by reducing its sale to Fifteen Hundred; while you have advanced the sale of your self-instructing paper to three hundred, besides what you generously give away?—and I need not say how fully and satisfactorily you have proved that the Review has been the occasion of the premature death of all those unfortunate men who have been hung at York, as well as of the rebellion in Ireland, for to the REVIEW may be attributed all that disaffection which now manifests itself; and there can be no doubt that you will be able to prove, that the differences between this country and America, have been owing to the filth of the Review; and were you properly to trace cause and effect, there can be no question but every moral and political evil will be found to have arisen from this source.

But my principal object for troubling you with this letter, is to inform you, that it is in the contemplation of the two Houses of Parliament, at the commencement of the next Session, to vote public thanks to you for the many and extraordinary services you have rendered this country and the world at large, by your not less extraordinary publication, and, I have heard it whispered too, in the higher circles, the Regent intends devoting ten thousand pounds out of his savings, to the erecting a statue to commemorate your virtues in Westminster Abbey, for having driven away his wife.

There are some evil disposed persons that say, that you were the cause of frame-breaking, by suggesting and putting in practice, a plan for reducing the workmen's prices, in your capacity as a hosier, in 1811.—This, I hope, is all sheer gammon and malice; otherwise the blood of a Horsefall, a Trentham, and the seventeen men hung at York, with a long catalogue of other crimes, you will have to expiate, either in this world, or the next. There are persons, likewise, who maintain that you wish to level all distinctions in society, and to create a national convulsion, by driving the working class in acts of desperation for want of food, hoping thereby to become Robespierre or a Marat. But this insinuation, also, I hope, you will be able to refute, or it shall be attempted to be done by

Your humble servant,

Thursday, 28 August 2014

28th August 1814: More news about Joanna Southcott's 'pregnancy'

From the Leeds Mercury of 3rd September 1814:

On Sunday [28th August 1814] a considerable multitude were assembled at Mr. Tozer’s Chapel, in the neighbourhood of the Obelisk, Westminster-road. Before ten o'clock the building was filled with auditors, a great number remaining on the outside, not being able to obtain admission. These excluded persons were continually accumulating, and when a competent congregation on the exterior of the structure was assembled, a preacher, whom we understand to be a boot-closer, ascended a temporary tribune or pulpit, and in a few moments, by his vehement language, satisfied his hearers that he was a determined opponent of the priesthood of Joanna. The Police Officers, who were on duty, at length interposed, secured him, and conveyed him to the Watch-house near the Surrey Theatre, where, for want of bail, he remained in confinement.

During these proceedings Mr. Tozer continued the service without interruption, and afterwards addressed the mob outside from one of the windows. He told them, amongst other things, that he fully expected that the birth and the pregnant Prophetess would occur before the middle of October, and that should the event not take place, he would in the situation from which he then spoke, a Christmas next, renounce his errors, abandon his holy profession, and acknowledge publicly that he and his followers had been grossly deluded.

A letter has been published by Dr. Reece, in which, after stating that on Wednesday last he visited Joanna Southcott, and ascertained by personal examination she is undoubtedly pregnant, he concludes thus:—

"Having thus satisfied my mind of the pregnancy of Joanna Southcott, I apply for a certificate of her age, which I received this morning, and of which the following is a copy:—

Joanna, daughter of William and Hannah Southcott, baptised the 6th day of June, 1750, as appears by the register of baptism of Ottery St. Mary’s parish, Devon.



I regard the pregnancy of Joanna Southcott extraordinary only in a professional point of view. Of her prophecies I am ignorant, and shall be happy to lend my aid for the purpose of detecting and exposing a species of imposture, which, of all others, I consider the most infamous.

I am, Sir, your obedient Servant,


Piccadilly, Aug. 25, 1814.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

26th August 1814: Burglary & attempted burglary at the premises of two Leicester Hosiers

Late in the evening of Friday 26th August 1814, burglars targeted the premises of two Hosiers in Leicester.

The warehouse of F. Burgess in Loseby Lane was entered via an upper window using a ladder taken from a Mr. Ellis of Mortin's Yard. The burglars appeared to be familiar with the warehouse, as they targeted a desk which contained a pocket book containing a cheque for £200, leaving similar desks undisturbed. Other valuable items were also left behind. Two dozen hose were also taken. These items were found (minus the cheque) abandoned the following morning in St. Martin's Churchyard. The borrowed ladder was left standing against the building, the burglars exiting the warehouse via the front door.

There was also an attempted burglary at the warehouse of another Hosier in Leicester the same night, but a guard dog barking awoke people nearby, and the attempt was abandoned.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

24th August 1814: British armed forces capture Washington, burn down the White House & Capitol

Tom Freeman 'Burning of the White House by British Soldiers' (2004)

On the evening of Wednesday 24th August 1814, and after defeating the Americans at the battle of Bladensburg, British forces mounted a raid upon the American capital, Washington. After occupying the city, the British set about destroying as many government buildings as possible.

The Times of Wednesday 28th September 1814, printed a dispatch sent by Major-General Ross, the commanding officer in the field, describing the mission:
Tennant, in the Patuxent, August 30, 1814.

My Lord.—I have the honour to communicate your Lordship, that on the night of the 24th instant, after defeating an army of the United States on that day, the troops under my command entered and took possession of the city of Washington.

It was determined between Sir A. Cochrane and myself, to disembark the army at the village of Benedict, on the right bank of the Patuxent, with the intention of co-operating with Rear-Admiral Cockburn, in an attack upon a flotilla of enemy’s gun-boats, under the command of Commodore Barney. On the 20th instant, the army commenced its march, having landed the previous day without opposition: on the 21st it reached Nottingham, and on the 22d move up to Upper Marlborough, a few miles distant from Pig Point, on the Patuxent, were Admiral Cockburn fell in with and defeated the flotilla, taking and destroying the whole. Having advanced to within sixteen miles of Washington, and ascertaining the force of the enemy to be such as might authorise an attempt at carrying his capital, I determined to make it, and accordingly put the troops in movement on the evening of the 23d. A corps of about 1200 men appeared to oppose us, but retired after firing a few shops. On the 24th, the troops resumed their march, and reached Bladensburg, a village situated on the left bank of eastern branch of the Potowmac, about five miles from Washington.

On the opposite side of the river the enemy was discovered strongly posted on very commanding heights, formed in two lines, his advance occupying a fortified house, which, with artillery, covered the bridge over the eastern branch, across which the British troops had to pass. A broad and straight road, leading from the bridge to Washington, run through the enemy’s position, which was carefully defended by artillery and rifleman.

The disposition for the attack being made, it was commenced so much impetuosity by the light brigade, consisting of the 25th light infantry and the light infantry companies of the army, under the command of Colonel Thornton, that the fortified house was shortly carried, the enemy retiring to the higher grounds.

In support of the light brigade I ordered up a brigade under the command of Colonel Brooke, who, with the 44th regiment, attacked the enemy’s left, the 4th regiment pressing his right with such effect as to cause him to abandon his guns. His first line giving way, was driven on the second, which, yielding to the irresistible attack of the bayonet, and the well directed discharge of rockets, got into confusion and fled, leaving the British masters of the field. The rapid fight of the enemy, and his knowledge of the country, precluded the possibility of many prisoners being taken, more particularly as the troops had, during the day, undergone considerable fatigue.

The enemy's army, amounting to 8 or 9000 men, with 3 or 400 cavalry, was under the command of General Winder, being formed of troops drawn from Baltimore and Pensylvania. His artillery, ten piece of which fell into our hands, was commanded by Commodore Barney, who was wounded and taken prisoner. The artillery I directed to be destroyed.

Having halted the army for a short time, I determined to march upon Washington, and reached that city at eight o'clock that night. Judging it of consequence to complete the destruction of the public buildings with the least possible delay, so that the army might retire without loss of time, the following buildings were set fire to and consumed—the Capitol, including the Senate-house and House of Representation, the arsenal, the dock-yard, treasury, war-office, President’s palace, rope-walk, and the great bridge across the Potowmac: in the dock-yard a frigate nearly ready to be launched, and a sloop of war, were consumed. The two bridges leading to Washington over the eastern branch had been destroyed by the enemy, who apprehended an attack from that quarter. The object of the expedition being accomplished, I determined, before any greater force of the enemy could be assembled, to withdraw the troops, and accordingly commenced retiring on the night of the 25th. On the evening of the 29th we reached Benedict, and re-embarked the following day. In the performance of the operation I have detailed, it is with the utmost satisfaction I observe to your Lordship, that cheerfulness in undergoing fatigue, and anxiety for the accomplishment of the object, were conspicuous in all ranks.

To Sir Alexander Cochrane my thanks are due, for his ready compliance with every wish connected with the welfare of the troops, and the success of the expedition.

To Rear-Admiral Cockburn, who suggested the attack upon Washington, and who accompanied the army, I confess the greatest obligation for his cordial co-operation and advice.

Colonel Thornton, who led the attack, is entitled to every praise for the noble example he set, which was so well followed by Lieutenant-Colonel Wood and the 85th Light Infantry, and by Major Jones, of the 4th Foot, with the light companies attached to the light brigade. I have to express my approbation of the spirited conduct of Colonel Brooke, and of his brigade, the 44th regiment, which he led, distinguished itself, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Mulleus; the gallantry of the Foot, under the command of Major Faunce, being equally conspicuous.

The exertions of Captain Mitchell, of the royal artillery, in bringing the guns into action, were unremitting; to him, and the detachment under his command, including Captain Deacon's rocket brigade, and the marine rocket corps, I feel every obligation. Captain Lampriere, of the royal artillery, mounted a small detachment of the artillery drivers, which proved of great utility.

The assistance afforded by Captain Blanchard, of the royal engineers, in the duties of his department was of great advantage. To the zealous exertions of Capts. Wainwright, Palmer, and Money, of the Royal Navy, and to those of the officers and seamen who landed with them, the service is highly indebted; the latter, Captain Money, had charge of the seamen attached to the marine artillery. To Captain McDougall, of the 85th foot, who acted as my Aide-de-Camp, in consequence of the indisposition of my Aide-de-Camp, Captain Falls, and to the officers of my staff, I feel much indebted.

I must beg leave to call your Lordship’s attention to the zeal and indefatigable exertions of Lieutenant Evans, Acting-Deputy-Quarter-Master General. The intelligence displayed by that officer in circumstances of considerable difficulty, induces me to hope he will meet with some distinguished mark of approbation. I have reason to be satisfied with the arrangements of Assistant-Commissary-General Lawrence.

An attack upon an enemy so strongly posted could not be effected without loss. I have to lament that the wounds received by Colonel Thornton, and the other officers and soldiers left at Bladensburg, were such as prevented their removal. As many of the wounded as could be brought off were removed, the others being left with medical care and attendants. The arrangements made by Staff Surgeon Baxter for their accommodation have been as satisfactory as circumstances would admit of. The agent for British prisoners of war very fortunately residing at Bladensburg, I have recommended the wounded officers and men to this particular attention, and trust his being able to effect their exchange when sufficiently recovered.

Captain Smith, Assistant Adjutant-General to the troops, who will have the honour to deliver this dispatch, I beg leave to recommend to your Lordship’s protection, as an officer of much merit and great promise, and capable of affording any further information that may be requisite.

Sanguine in hoping for the approbation of his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, and of his Majesty's Government, as to the conduct of the troops under my command, I have, &c.

(Signed) ROB. ROSS, Major-Gen.
I beg you to inclose herewith a return of the killed, wounded, and missing in action of the 24th instant, together with a statement of the ordnance, ammunition, and ordnance stores taken from the enemy between the 19th and 25th August, and likewise sketches of the scene of action and of the line of march.
George Munger 'The President's House' (c.1814-1815)
 The editorial in the Times of the same day was predictably triumphant:
The Bulletin which appeared exclusively and our paper of yesterday, and which has since supplied matter for an Extraordinary Gazette, reached us at too late an hour to admit of our making any remarks on the great events which it recorded; and, indeed, as those events spoke for themselves, and superseded all necessity of comment. Washington,—the proud seat of that nest of traitors, whose accursed arts involved us in war with our brethren beyond the Atlantic,—Washington captured, it’s dock, it’s arsenal, and all it’s public buildings destroyed,—the heads of the faction beaten, disgraced, and flying for their lives;—these are indeed impressive lessons, which we fervently hope and trust will produce their proper effect on the people of the United States. It was only by a train of the grossest impostures that America was deluded into a war with her most natural friend and ally, Great Britain; united and acting in concert with whom, she might at this hour have been rich, happy, and respected. But the ignorance and incapacity of the leaders to whom she unfortunately trusted, which equal to their perfidy and malice. They imagined that they should see themselves masters of Quebec and Halifax, whilst their confederate dictated a peace at St. Petersburgh. Their impious hopes, however, like his, have been blasted by unerring justice, and the loss of the American Capital has been attended by circumstances which cover them with disgrace. A body of fifteen hundred British soldiers,—no more,—sufficed to put to flight the whole army which was drawn together to protect the seat of government, under the eye of MADISON himself, and his most notorious accomplices. The fancied Princes of the transatlantic empire (for such, no doubt, they once hoped to be) fled first from the field of battle, and with their own hands set fire to the navy-yard of Washington. Thence, fear giving them wings, they fled across the Potomack, and sought shelter in Virginia. We learn that even this miserable termination of their exploits would probably not have been attained, but the services of a large body of Irish rebels, who were among the most zealous defenders of the district of Washington. The American papers which we have received are of course not so late in date as the dispatches in the Gazette. They are, however, curious, as indicating the miserable state of confusion which prevailed throughout all the neighbouring country from the moment that Commodore BARNEY, with his vaunted flotilla, began to retreat up the Patuxent. The National Intelligencer of August the 23d, affords the most admirable specimen of gratuitous lying, hopeless of obtaining belief, and betraying its fears by the very methods it uses to inspire confidence. It described an enemy advancing against the seat of the American government, "destitute of field artillery and land transportation." To oppose so destitute and desperate an attack, it enumerates many various corps of artillery, infantry, rifleman and militia, "all in fine spirits;" it asserts that this single object occupies all hands and all hearts; and yet it concludes in a rueful tone with an apology for, "the meanness of to-day's paper." We have often before had occasion to mention to Mr. D. PORTER, of flogging memory, and we are glad to notice him again, acting quite in character. His generous conqueror sent him home on his parole. The first thing he did on his arrival was to publish an infamous libel on the man who had behaved to him with such liberality. Next, the virtuous Mr. MADISON officially declared him to be released from his parole; and now we find him marching to fight against those to whom he was bound by the most sacred ties that can restrain a man of honour. It is a great pity that this scoundrel did not leave New York until the 23d of August. Had he been but a day or two earlier, he might have fallen into the hands of General Ross, who, of course, would have hanged him without ceremony. These American papers also contain an amusing account of the Battle of the 25th of July, at Chippewa, by the American General BROWN. According to him, he gained a notable victory on that occasion, only he had the misfortune to see two of his regiments successively run away, and to find that General RIPLEY, his successor in command, neglected to obey his positive orders to meet and beat the enemy next morning. Loans, the last reliance of the Madisonian Cabinet, begin to fail. They talk of negotiating them in Europe. If they cannot raise money at home, what people in this quarter of the world will be so foolish as to trust to their solidity? The dissolution of the ill compacted union may perhaps be daily expected; but even if the present Government should stand, it has been guilty of too much downright swindling to obtain the last degree of credit in foreign countries. To add to its difficulties in this respect, there is a report, by no means improbable, that the Spaniards are determined to re-possess themselves of Louisiana. It is certain that the underhand tricks which were played between those three knaves JEFFERSON, BONAPARTE, and GODOY, would be found on investigation to have effected no legal transfer of the sovereignty of that country; but it is not necessary to seek any special-pleading niceties in such a question. The American Government has given Spain just cause for war; and if she once draws the sword, she will be wise not to sheath it till she has recovered her ancient possessions. It is on occasions such as this that the Spaniards would feel the value of a manly and energetic government.
George Munger 'The U.S. Capitol after burning by the British' (c.1814)

On the 29th September, the Times reprinted a passage from an American newspaper, which described the burning of Washington in more detail:
(From Poulson’s Philadelphia Paper, on Aug. 29.)

Mr Poulson.—The following are facts which took place at Washington, on the night of the 24th inst. and the day following, to which I was an eye-witness. After the battle, a small part of the British entered the city about 9 o'clock at night: on passing the first house which been occupied by Mr. Gallatin, a volley was fired from the windows, which killed General Ross's horse under him, one soldier, and wounded three others; the house was immediately surrounded, and some prisoners taken, (part of whom were blacks), and the house set on fire. About half-past 9, a tremendous explosion was heard at the Navy Yard, and it was soon enveloped in flames, (this was done by our own people); about 10, another explosion was heard at the capitol, and soon after a fire was seen in the wooden part, between the two houses, the north part of which burnt with great fury.

From this time, little was seen or heard until about 11 o'clock, when we discovered a body of about 150 troops, marching up Pennsylvania Avenue, towards the President’s house―on their arrival opposite Mr. Mackowen’s Hotel, (where I put up), Colonel Isaacs addressed the commanding officer, who we learnt was General Ross, who gave every assurance that private property and persons should be respected—and Admiral Cockburn, who arrived at the head of a second detachment, renewed this assurance; they then advanced, being about 150 men, and on their arrival at the President’s house, they entered and took some porter, and collected some papers, and soon an explosion was heard, and have seen on fire―the Treasury Office was also soon on fire.

The troops then returned, and on arriving near the hotel, Admiral Cockburn halted a part of the troops, and observed that he must destroy Mr. Gale's office (of the National Intelligencer,) and ordered an officer to go into it, and see what it contained; on his return, he replied it was full of types and printing materials. Admiral C. observed it must be destroyed, but on being informed that by setting fire to that office, many other adjoining buildings would take fire, he consented it should remain until he had sent a file of men to destroy the types: this is not done until the next morning. Afterwards Admiral C. bid good night and renewed his assurance that all persons might consider themselves as safe as they were the night previous; he departed next morning about half-past five. Admiral C. rode through the avenue to the President’s house, or near it, accompanied by three soldiers only, and soon returned alone, except a man on a fine horse, who appeared to be from the country.

The Admiral again stopped near the hotel, and conversed some time with a few gentlemen in the street. About eight o'clock, about 900 men were marched in three detachments, followed by about thirty negroes, carrying powder, rockets, &c. up to the Secretary of State's office, and that office was soon on fire; after which, during the day, the three ropewalks of Mr. Ringgold, Mr. Parrott, and Mr. Heath, were burnt, together with the Potomac Bridge. The only building belonging to the public that escaped, was the house occupied for the general post and patent offices.

August 29, 1814.

After the news of the British adventure in Washington reached Britain in late September and early October 1814, one particular reaction to it would become notorious and have far-reaching consequences for the owner of a well-known Midlands newspaper.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

12th August 1814: George Coldham tells the Home Office that the resumption of frame-breaking shows the FWK Union is weak

Leamington 12th August 1814

Dear Sir,

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your two Letters of the 6th & 9th of August last both of which were sent to me here the first of which I have transmitted for the Consideration of the Magistrates of Nottingham & the last of which I shall lose not a moment in sending to them. I hope that the Magistrates will be enabled to keep the Peace with the force Lord Sidmouth has been enabled to send for the Protection of the Town & Neighbourhood of Nottingham & I am sure they will feel themselves very much indebted to his Lordship for his kind Attention to their wishes. Even if the Practice of Framebreaking should be resumed if the Officers of the Regiment of Cavalry should be willing to permit the Men to act on Foot which I should think the Magistrates would then deem essential to the effectual assistance of the civil power—I should hope they would succeed in the protection of the Property of the Manufacturers of the Town.

I have been at this place since Monday last for the benefit of my Health & shall stay here most probably about a Week or ten Days longer. In the mean time a communication established with one of my confidential Clerks & the Informants of the Secret Committee of the Operations of the Framebreakers & my Partner Mr Enfield will effectually supply my place in Case my Counsel or Assistance should be wanted either by the Magistrates or the Secret Committee. I have the pleasure to assure you that I regard the resumption of the Practice of Framebreaking as a strong & decisive Evidence of the Disorganization of the System of Combination as applied for the purpose of accomplishing an Increase of wages. I consider that this has been effected by the joint aid of a depressed Trade, of an increasing supply of Labourers in the Manufacturory from the Discharge of the Militia Regiments of the Manufacturing Sistricts, & of the Confusion & Dismay occasioned by the Seizure of the Books & Papers of the Committee of the Combinations. I have also the Satisfaction to inform you that I regard the Sources of Information in the Possession of the Magistrates & the Secret Committee as likely to afford them the most constant & early Intelligence of our project which may be set on Fort for breaking Frames in the Town of Nottingham or the immediate Neighbourhood of it in pursuance of our general System of acting & I am sure that both the Magistrates & the Secret Committee will act with the greatest Zeal & promptitude upon our Information which they may entertain

I am Dear Sir
Your’s most obediently
Geo Coldham

P.S. If you should write again on publick Business please to Direct to me at Nottingham if I am not returned Mr Enfield will open the Letters as he shd have Done the last

[To: Home Office]

Thursday, 7 August 2014

7th August 1814: 'Joanna Southcott and her Crib'

On Sunday 7th August 1814, The Examiner published  an article which discussed at length the gifts being showered upon the self-proclaimed prophetess Joanna Southcott, who had recently declared she was pregnant with the new Messiah at the age of 64.


In one of the recent publications of this Prophetess, entitled the Book of Wonders, is announced "the coming of SHILOH, with a call to the Hebrews." The Spirit says, p.4, "This year, in the 65th year of thy age, thou shalt have a Son by the power of the Most High, which if they receive as their Prophet, Priest, and King, then I will restore them to their own land, and cast out the Heathens for their sakes, as I cast out them when they cast out me, by rejecting me as their Saviour, Prince, and King, for which I said I was born, but not at that time to establish my Kingdom."―In consequence of this announcement, the followers of JOANNA SOUTHCOTT, who are increasing both in town and county, are making all sorts of necessary precautions. It is certainly true, that she has been literally overwhelmed with presents.―Laced caps, embroidered bibs, and marked robes, a mohair mantle, which cost 15 [shillings].―Splendid silver pap-spoons and candle-cups (one shaped like a dove)―have been poured in upon her, till she has at length determined to receive no more of such things. To complete the desired apparatus, a magnificent Crib has just been finished by one of our first upholsterers, of which a friend has favoured us with the following particulars:―

"A short description of a Crib, made by Mr. Seddons, of Aldersgate-street, according to the order of some Gentlemen, who are members of the Church established by Joanna Southcott, for the New Messiah, with whom they believe she is now pregnant:―

"This Crib, which is made of an oblong square, is of the usual size of modern Cribs; the frame is made of satin-wood, richly ornamented with gold; the sides and ends filled with lattice work of gold. The body of the Crib, which they call the MANGER, is richly lined with blue satin, drawn together so as to give it the appearance of fitted work. The pillars on which it stands are taper, with ribbons of gold entwining round them. The head cloth is of blue satin, with a celestial crown of gold embroidered upon it, and underneath this appears the word SHILOH, in Hebrew characters, richly drawn, and exhibited in gold-spangles. Over the head part of the Crib appears an elegant canopy of blue satin, lined with the finest white muslin, which is drawn together to a plait, and fastened underneath, or withinside the canopy, by a rose of blue satin. The outer point of the canopy is finished with the figure of a Dove of gold, resting on a small white ball, and bearing a branch of olive in its mouth. Around the outer rim of the canopy is this inscription, in letters of gold:―"A free-will offering by Faith to the promised Seed." The curtains and other drapery are blue satin edged with gold fringe, and looped up with gold line and gold tassels. The inner curtains are of fine white muslin.

"The above is a description of what they call the Manger; besides which they have a Crib which fits within the former, and hangs upon swivels, that a proper motion may be given to it whenever the young Prince may require rocking.

"The Crib itself is made with satin wood, fitted with the most beautiful cane-work, from which passes a cord of gold to a pedal, which is designed to rock the cradle whenever this may be proper for the infant, and to prevent the necessity of leaning over the manger, which might incommode the supernatural babe.

"The bed is of the finest eider-down, in a white covering; the coverlet is of richest white satin, with a medallion in the centre, bearing the figures of a Lamb lying down with the Lion. The Lamb is worked in silver―the Lion in gold. These are surmounted by a Tree of Life worked in gold also. The sheets for the bed are made of the best cambric, edged with expensive lace.―July 29, 1814."

Shiloh's Crib today, at the Panacea Museum, Bedford

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

6th August 1814: The Procurator Fiscal of Dumfries sends an intercepted letter to the Mayor of Nottingham

Dumfries 6 August 1814


A Correspondence having lately been discovered to have commenced here, betwixt the Journeymen Stocking makers and their Brothers in Nottingham, for the purpose of forming an Association of the Trade to be connected with and dependent upon the General Society of Nottingham, the Master of the Trade became alarmed and made application to the Magistrates of this Town, who upon a Complaint from me as Procurator Fiscal of the Burgh, granted a Warrant for apprehending and bringing before them the persons complained upon for Examination. There were accordingly five Journeymen brought forward, who stated that although they had had some correspondence with the Nottingham Journeymen, they had entered into no resolutions in consequence thereof, nor formed themselves into any Society. They at the same time produced a letter from an S Simpson as Secy of one of the Committees in Nottingham strongly urging them immediately to form themselves into an Association, connected with the principal Society there; they also produced some printed regulations and 60 what Simpson in the letter called Deplomas

The Magistrates as well as the Masters here who are anxious to prevent as much as lies in their power, the diffusion of principles so injurious to the Trade and so subversive of the Peace of the Country have desired me to hand you a Copy of Simpson's letter which is prefixed; I enclose at the same time one of the Deplomas for your Information

I am [etc]
Thomas Fraser

[To] the Mayor of Nottingham

6th August 1814: "You are a damned Luddite, and back the Luds."

The Leeds Mercury of Saturday 6th August 1814 carried an article about a case at the recent York Summer Assizes for an assault. The case is interesting because the plaintiff used the argument that he had been accused of being a Luddite as an aggravating factor in the assault, with the Judge ultimately agreeing with him. Also noticeable is the anti-semitism on display. This may have been the first recorded use of the term 'Luddite' as an insult outside of a newspaper editorial.


This was an action for an assault.

MR. SCARLET stated, that his client was a respectable linen-draper, in Huddersfield, and that the defendant was a commercial traveller. It happened that these parties met at the King’s Head inn, Huddersfield, when some conversation having arisen respecting some articles bought by the Plaintiff off a Jew pedlar, the Defendant abused these Jew traders in the grossest terms, and at length proposed that the Israelite should be sent for into the room, that the company might have the pleasure of abusing him to his face. This was opposed by Mr. Clay, as scandalous and improper, which opposition brought upon him the resentment of Mr. Burman, the defendant, who, in a scoffing tone, enquired how his friend Major Cartwright did, adding that he looked well when he was in the carriage with him. Though this was meant as an insult to the plaintiff, he received it with perfect good humour, and replied, that he believed the Major was in very good health, and that he thought himself honored by being in his company. The Defendant, disappointed in this attack, turned upon him and said, "Why Clay, you know you are a damned Luddite, and back the Luds." The plaintiff felt this as a most false and gross imputation; it was, in fact, charging him with the greatest of crimes. To this slander, he replied in terms, which perhaps most persons would have been tempted to use on a similar provocation, and said,—"You are a damn’d lying scoundrel." The defendant, apparently not moved by this language, coolly lay down his stick and said, "My rule is, when a man calls me a liar, to give a knock on the face; upon which he went and struck the Plaintiff a violent blow over the face. This blow the learned Counsel admitted was returned by this client. After this, a Mr. Dobson interfered, who attacked the Plaintiff, and having got his head fixed against his breast, the Defendant, in that situation gave him a doubler.

MR. SCARLET called several Witnesses, who proved the above facts, and which it is not necessary to repeat.

MR. TOPPING spoke in mitigation of damages, but called no Witnesses.

His Lordship said, this appeared to be a mere ale-house quarrel, an assault, however, had been proved and the imputation upon the defendant of being a Luddite, was certainly calculated to excite a considerable degree of indignation; and those who know the nature of the disturbances in that part of the country, would be aware, that it was accusing him of being an extremely bad and dangerous man. The assault had been proved, and the only question for the Jury to consider would be, the amount of damages.

Verdict the Plaintiff Five Pounds.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

2nd August 1814: George Coldham updates the Home Office about recent framebreaking & requests troops

Nottingham 2d August 1814

Dear Sir,

Had not the hurry of the Assizes intervened I [wld] have written to you much sooner on the subject of the Resumption of the Practice of Framebreaking in the Town accompanied as it has been with circumstances of peculiar aggravation. Before the Men contrived to steal in to the House now they have broken in by force before they went in assembled a very small party silently in [the] last Instance they went in great force & with considerable noise. The Magistrates on the very morning after the Destruction of Frames in the Town called upon the People of the House in which the Frames were to account for the Destruction of the Frames & examined them in the strict manner without Detecting the least Evidence of their Connivance at the Destruction of the Frames. I hope in this Instance as the Entrance into the Houses was accomplished before & by a violent Mob that the Extent of the Property Destroyed can be secured against the Town. as such a circumstance would be productive of good consequence.

As Secretary to the Secret Committee I have been Directed to apply to the Magistrates for a Regiment of Infantry to be stationed in the Town & I have in consequence of that application been Directed by the Mayor & Aldermen to apply to Lord Sidmouth to request that he would have the Goodness in consequence of the late occurrences to give Orders that we should be furnished with that species of force for the Protection of the Publick Peace. You will have the Kindness to represent this application to Lord Sidmouth on the part of the Magistrates of Nottingham & of the Committee of Manufacturers & I have no Doubt of his Lordship's Attention thereto. As I have understood that the Sentence of the Magistrates upon Gibson & Judd has been considered too lenient & ask a [illegible] from me or the Committee of Hosiers I think it only proper to state to you that this Sentence was the Act of the Magistrates quite independent of my advice & still more independent of the Secret Committee or their Counsel. I attended this Conviction as the Solicitor of the Secret Committee or if Messrs Ray it was therefore impossible that I could act in two [Corporations]. It has been egregiously stated that the Sentence produced was the lowest which could be awarded whereas in truth the Magistrates were not restricted from imposing a shorter Duration of Imprisonment & could only have imposed an Imprisonment of two months to hard Labour. I have reason to believe that the Combination are about to abandon their Attempts to regulate the Price of Wages by turning out the Workmen & I am apprehensive that more Frames will be broken. I regard however their change of Plans as indicative of their Weakness. I think that we have the means of learning their System of Operations & that if the Plan of Framebreaking goes on [we] shall be enabled to Detect it. In the mean time both the Magistrates & the Manufacturers ought to regard themselves very much Indebted [to] the Plan you have suggested for counteracting these unprincipled Wretches. I am satisfied that a Horse Patrole will be found very useful.

I am Dear Sir
Your’s very obediently
Geo Coldham Town Clerk

[To John Beckett Esquire]

Thursday, 31 July 2014

31st July 1814: The Nottingham solicitor, Louis Allsop, updates the Home Office on local framebreaking

31st July 1814

Dr Sir

I have taken the opportunity of having some Conversation with Mr Coldham on the subject of the degree of Punishment inflicted by the Magistrates on the two men convicted of the unlawful Combination; he informs me that he appeared before the Magistrates in the [purpose] of situation of Prosecution as Secretary to the Association of the Hosiers, that upon this subject he had no Communication with the Magistrates, & that he was much disappointed at the punishment—as far as I could make out there was some Communication between the Magistrates & the parties implicated & the former proceeded upon a mistaken hope that lenity might be productive of good; the proceedings of last Tuesday Night (of which I concluded You have been fully informed) must have satisfied these Gentlemen of their Error. Coldham says the Committee effect to be taken up, the Conduct of the deluded men on Tuesday night was much daring & atrocious.

I have the Honor to be
Dr Sir
Yr most obdt
L Allsopp.

[To] John Beckett Esq

Monday, 28 July 2014

28th July 1814: Percy Bysshe Shelley & Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin elope to Europe

After a developing and all-enveloping love affair that had lasted from the day they met in May, Percy Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin decided to elope to Europe in the early hours of Thursday 28th July 1814, accompanied by Mary's half-sister, Claire Clairmont. The entry below is from Shelley's journal: 

The night preceding this morning, all being decided - I ordered a chaise to be ready by 4 o'clock. I watched until the lightning & the stars became pale. A length it was 4. I believed it not possible that we should succeed: still there appeared to lurk some danger even in certainty. I went. I saw her. She came to me. Yet one quarter of an hour remained. Still some arrangements must be made, & she left me for a short time. How dreadful did this time appear. It seemed that we trifled with life & hope. A few minutes past she was in my arms - we were safe. we were on our road to Dover.

Mary was ill as we travelled. Yet in that illness what pleasure & security did we not share! The heat made her faint it was necessary at every stage that she should repose. I was divided between anxiety for her health & terror lest our pursuers should arrive. I reproached myself with not allowing her sufficient time to rest, with concieving any evil so great that the slightest portion of her comfort might be sacrifized to avoid it.

At Dartford we took four horses that we might outstrip pursuit. We arrived at Dove[r] before 4 o'clock. Some time was necessarily exp[ended] in consideration, in dinner - in bargaining with sailors & customs house officers. At length we engaged a small boat to convey us to Calais. It was ready by six o clock.

The evening was most beautiful. The sand slowly receded. we felt secure. There was little wind - the sails flapped in the flagging breeze. The moon rose, the night came on, & with the night a slow heavy swell and a fresher breeze which soon became so violent as to toss the boat very much .... Mary was much affected by the sea. She could scarcely move. She lay in my arms thro the night, the little strength which remained in my own exhausted frame was all expended in keeping her head in rest on my bosom. The wind was violent & contrary. If we could not reach Calais the sailors proposed making for Boulogne. They promised only two hours sail from the shore, yet hour after hour past & we were still far distant when the moon sunk in the red & stormy horizon, & the fast flashing lightning became pale in the breaking day.

We were proceeding slowly against the wind when suddenly a thunder squall struck the sail & the waves rushed into the boat. Even the sailors perceived that our situation was perilous, they succeeded [in] reefing the sail,―the wind had now changed & [w]e drove before a wind that came in violent [g]usts directly to Calais.

Mary did not know our danger. She was resting on between my knees that were unable to support her. She did not speak or look. But I felt that she was there. I had time in that moment to reflect & even to reason upon death. It was a thing of discomfort & of disappointment than [?terror] to me. We could never be separated, but in death we might not know & feel our union as now. I hope ― but my hopes are not unmixed with fear for what will befall this inestimable spirit when we appear to die.

The morning broke, the lightning died away, the violence of the wind abated. We arrived at Calais whilst Mary still slept. We drove upon the sands. Suddenly the broad sun rose over France.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

27th July 1814: 7 frames broken at 3 locations in Nottinghamshire

In the early hours of Wednesday 27th July 1814, Luddites launched 3 raids across Nottinghamshire.

Four frames, the property of the well-known Hosier Thomas Hayne, were kept in the workshop of a framework-knitter called Hooton in Sneinton. The Luddites had arrived at 12.30 a.m., alerting Hooton and his wife to their presence when they opened the garden gate. Looking out of the bedroom window, they observed at least 12 men advancing to the house and cried out 'for god's sake, what do you mean to do?' - the response of the Luddites was a familiar one - the Hootons were ordered to go back inside or their brains would be blown out. The Hootons obeyed, but began to loudly cry out 'Murder!'. The Luddites followed this up by firing a shot and throwing a large stone at the bedroom which made the Hootons flee to another room.

In the meantime, the raiding party of Luddites had tried to gain entry to the house, but were met with great difficulty owing to shutters and iron stanchions in front of the windows. The raiders even tried to break down the wall, but eventually gained access by breaking down door. Their rage was by this time so great that they injured a pig kept in the back yard and tried to cut down Hooton's apple tree.

The Hootons were not left alone: their shouting and having locked themselves in a bedroom further enraged the Luddites, who broke the door open and threatened them to sit still and quietly on the bed. Below, every component of the 4 knitting frames were comprehensively damaged and destroyed, and four globe lamps were smashed over the frames, with the aqua fortis (nitric acid) they contained further damaging the remnants. The damage was later estimated at £100.

The Luddites also affected a robbery: £20 of lace was taken away, as well as 2 other machines worth £14, and other property.

The same group of Luddites then proceeded to New Sneinton, and the home of a Mr Cooper. There, a brand-new and unused wide-frame - the property of Messrs Holmes, Edenborough & Co - was broken. The value of this frame was estimated at £120.

Later, the Luddites paid a visit to the home of a Mr Kelsall who lived on Trumpet Street in Nottingham. Two point net frames - one the property of Messrs Cartwright, the other belonging to a Mr Harvey - were destroyed.

By 2.30 a.m., the raids were over and the frame-breaking was complete.

Three rewards of £100 each were later offered for information.

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]