Wednesday, 29 October 2014

29th October 1814: The Nottingham solicitor, Louis Allsop, reports that he has entrapped Charles Sutton

Nottingham
29th Oct. 1814.—

My Lord.—

I entertain a strong hope, that my Letter to Mr. Addington will have rendered an explanation sufficiently Satisfactory, to induce your Lordship to think, that the paper purchased by Mr Cartledge, can be made legal Evidence; I have hitherto been unsuccessful in purchasing a paper, from Mr Sutton's Agents at Castle Donington & Loughborough; upon looking into the Question respecting the proof of the publishing &c in case of libel &c it occurred to me that I might still accomplish what We wanted through the Medium of the Stamp Distributor, Mr. George Smith; I accordingly applied to him, & learnt that Sutton was in arrears several Weeks & had not signed the papers for this period as required by the Act 38 Geo 3d c 78; I therefore consulted with Mr Smith, & we decided that his clerk, who was in the habit of getting the papers signed, should take such as remained unsigned, of which the paper of the 14th was one, to Sutton & procure his Signature thereto; this, after one or two attempts was accomplished; Sutton Signed the paper in Mr Smiths Clerks presence, & he immediately brought it back, with the others, to the office, where I was waiting for him, & in my presence, & without having parted with the possession, he wrote at the bottom of the Sheets close to Sutton’s Signature to the following effect—"28th Oct. 1814, saw Mr Charles Sutton sign this paper which he delivered to me immediately"

"Mr Shelton.—"

We sealed the paper up in a Cover, which Shelton & I signed. I now sincerely trust, We have him safe beyond all doubt. If your Lordship decides upon proceedings agt. Mr Sutton I trust your Lordship will excuse the Liberty I take in recommending your Lordship, to order the leading Counsel on the Circuit to be retained, & also in proper time to secure a Special Jury, & to have the Trial take place in the County & not in the Town of Nottm.—

I have [etc]
L Allsopp

[To] Lord Sidmouth

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

28th October 1814: Louis Allsop outlines the lengths he has gone to, to entrap Charles Sutton

Nottingham
28th Oct. 1814.

Sir

From the Enquiries I had made, in consequence of your former Letter, I had every reason to believe that Sutton had no other paper of the 14th Inst, than the one he kept to be filed; he is not in the habit of printing off any more papers than are printed; because in consequence of your Letter of the 26th received Yesterday, I was determined to make an attempt upon Mr Sutton through the medium of one of his own party in politics, as the only chance, by putting him off his guard, of attempting particularly whether he had a paper left of the 14th Inst; I accordingly went to Mr Coldham who, You of course know is connected in politics with the men of this Town possessing the principles of the party, upon which this Paper affects to be conducted, & put the point to him, as a Matter of Duty he owed the public both as Town Clerk of this place & Secretary to the Association of the Hosiers, to procure me, from his own party, a person for the purpose, I could rely on; I was induced to do this, knowing Mr Coldham's Sentiments respecting this paper, & I think it is a duty I own that Gentleman to state that he entered into the matter most readily & cordially; he fixed upon a person, whom he could rely upon, a Man known to Sutton & me, he could not suspect, & I am sorry to say, my former Information was confirmed; Sutton has only the paper left which he keeps filed, & which he will not part with—I have written to a confidential person both at Derby & Leicester, to try to purchase one of these papers of Suttons Agents at both places & I obtained a confidential person to make the same attempts at Castle Donington & Loughborough; & you probably will think it worth while to make the same attempt in London; Taylor & Co. in Warwick Square, White & Co. in Fleet St. and, [illegible] inform You, [illegible], the Agents—with all due deference to the opinion expressed in your last letter, you must allow me to state that I still think the paper sent up may be proved; The person who purchased it is my chief and confidential clerk; he is in the habit of making his Initials, as often as his handwriting, in the margin of [books] and papers, where alterations [illegible] &c are made; he has also been in the habit of putting his Initials to paper at different times purchased of Sutton; he entertains not the least doubt but that he can be most particularly [illegible] to the paper, quite small as if his name had been written at full length, but to put this beyond all doubt, I will thank You to return me the paper, & I will then report to You most accurately what he says; I can rely upon him, & indeed [could] [much] in the habit of seeing him write, & of seeing his Initials that I have no doubt I can confirm, if necessary, his Testimony – I feel no doubt upon this Subject—

I have the Honor to be,
Sir,
Yr most obed Svt
L Allsopp

[To] J. H. Addington Esq

Monday, 27 October 2014

27th October 1814: The Home Secretary tells the Earl of Lonsdale of plans to break the Calico Printers Union

Copy.

Confidential.

Richmond Park,
Octr. yr. 27th 1814.

My dear Lord,

I am much obliged to your Lordship for your letter of ye 25th – Of the Combination you mention I have long been apprized. Three active members of it were apprehended at Glasgow, about a month ago, thro’ the Vigilance and Activity of the Sheriff of Renfrew; and no doubt is entertained of their being convicted. Copies of the Papers found upon them were sent to me; &, by means of the Information thus afforded, very important Information has been obtained.

The immediate Object of the Combination, is to dictate the Rate of Wages; and it comprehends the Calico Printers, and Weavers, of Glasgow, Manchester, Blackburn, &c. & of Dublin. Persons of that Description at Carlisle are deeply engaged in it; & it is material that Great Caution should be observed in seeking for Information there, as the Excitement of Alarm would destroy the means, which we now possess of obtaining Intelligence from that quarter.―Nothing can be better arranged, than that the Information, procured by the Gentleman to whom your Lordship has adverted, should be transmitted to Sir James Graham, & by him forwarded to me.—

The Attorney General is out of Town; but the Solicitor General is to be at the Home Office tomorrow, as I wish to consult Him as to the Course to be pursued. I incline to think, but more Rope must be given: but I am satisfied, that, in the ensuing Session, the Interference of Parliament will be indispensably necessary.—

Believe me
Sidmouth

[To] The Earl of Lonsdale
&c &c &c

Friday, 24 October 2014

24th October 1814: The Nottinghamshire MP William Frank asks the Home Secretary to offer a reward for the attack on Thomas Garton

Kirklington near Southwell
October 24th 1814

My Lord

Your Lordship has no doubt heard of the Attack upon Mr. Gartons house at Basford near Nottingham

The account published in the Papers one of which I send, is I believe a fair statement. The Lord Lieutenant has with that Zeal & Liberality for which his Grace is so conspicuous desired a reward to any amount may be offered out of his private purse for the detection of the Offenders. I believe it will give great satisfaction to the magistrates and the Nottingham district if your Lordship should be Pleased that Government that Government should offer considerable Reward for the like desirable end

It is understood by the Chairman of the Nottingham Sessions that the watch & ward act has expired. I think your Lordship said that was not the Case

I intend to be in Town to meet the Parliament on the 8th of next month and shall do myself the honor to wait on you

I have [etc]
Frank Frank
MP for the County of Nottingham

24th October 1814: 19 year-old worker killed by machinery at Carr's gig-mill, Armley

The Saturday 29th October edition of the Leeds Mercury carried a report about an accident at a gig mill at Armley, near Leeds:

On Monday last, a most shocking accident occurred at the gig-mill of Mr. John Carr, at Armley. One of the straps by which motion is communicated to the gig engine having started from its proper situation, a young man of the name of Lee attempted to replace it, but in the effort his arm unfortunately became entangled in the straps and he was drawn among the machinery, and instantly killed; his body was mangled in a manner too horrid for description. He was an unmarried man, about 19 years of age, the only son of his mother, and she is a widow. On her mind this terrible catastrophe has produced a fatal effect, having completely disordered her intellect, and induced a state of absolute distraction. After this statement, it cannot be necessary to caution all those who may be employed about machinery to exercise an habitual care in avoiding all contact with it, and to refrain from attempting to correct any irregularities during the time that it is in motion, and still less can it be necessary to suggest to the proprietors of these and similar manufactories the moral obligation they are under of adopting every means which ingenuity can suggest, to lessen the danger attendant upon them, and thereby to diminish the frequency of these lamentable accidents. As the young man was generally respected in the situation of life in which he was placed, his funeral was attended by an unusual concourse of people, who appeared deeply impressed with feelings suitable to the melancholy occasion.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

23rd October 1814: Aborted assassination attempt on an employee of Thomas Garton

On the evening of Sunday 23rd October 1814, a group of men approached the house of an employee of Thomas Garton, the man whose house had been attacked by Luddites 9 days before. The man lived at Lenton, and it is possible the group were trying to intimidate him into not giving evidence - a press report stated their object was to assassinate him.

Despite their number, they abandoned their object when they observed that a guard of some sort had been posted outside his home.

According to a press report, the unnamed man was sacked by Garton for fear that his presence as an employee would bring further vengeance.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

22nd October 1814: The Nottingham solicitor Louis Allsop reports on an attempt to obtain a copy of the Nottingham Review

Nottingham
22d Oct. 1814.

My Lord—

In consequence of Mr Addingtons letter received Yesterday I have employed a person, in whose discretion I could confide to purchase a paper of Mr Sutton the Printer &c of the Nottingham Review, but I am sorry to say, he has not been successful; so much has been said respecting the Paper in question, even, by those who are favorable to this man's Politics, & so general an opinion has been expressed, upon the Punishment he deserves that I am aware, he would be upon his Guard; & I accordingly employed a person, not likely to be suspected; & who enquired for the last five or six papers, in order to make up a Sett—The Paper I sent your Lordship is marked with the Initials of the person, whom I employed to purchase it, before he parted with it out of his possession; I can confide in him, & he can swear to the paper; Sutton has no suspicion; & I merely wished to keep him in the back ground, that Sutton might not know for what purpose he purchased his Paper, which I often employ to do; he is one of my Clerks—I take the liberty of transmitting to your Lordship this Weeks Paper, in which your Lordship will see the sort of apology which is made—As therefore we are not likely to obtain another paper from Sutton Your Lordship will please to give directions within that the Paper I transmitted to your Lordship shall be taken care of, or that the same shall be sent back to me, to be kept by the person, who is to prove purchasing thereof.

I have [etc]

L Allsopp

[To] Lord Sidmouth

22nd October 1814: The Town Clerk of Derby forwards a threatening letter to the Home Secretary

Derby 22d October 1814

My Lord!

I am directed by the Mayor and Magistrates of the Borough of Derby to transmit for your Lordship’s inspection, the inclosed Copy of a letter – the original of which (under the Derby post mark), was received by Mr. Beer the officer commanding at the Depot yesterday evening about six o'clock.—I am also to state – that although the Magistrates know not the exact degree of importance which ought to be attached to this notice – yet considering the recent occurrences of Nottingham – the slender guard at the depot (a Serjeant and Seven men) – and that the Arms &c of the Derby regiment of Local Militia – are in another, and not more secure, part of this Town – they feel it their duty not only to exert their own vigilance in order to guard against the unpleasant consequences, but also to make this communication to your Lordship.

I have [etc]
E Ward
Town Clerk of Derby

To
the Rt Honble
The Secy at State

22nd October 1814: Government reward notice for the attack on Thomas Garton

Whitehall, October 22, 1814.

Whereas it has been humbly represented to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, that on the evening of Friday the 14th day of this instant October, the house of Thomas Garton, situated at New Basford, in the county of Nottingham, was broken into by a number of armed men in disguise, for the purpose of murdering the said Thomas Garton; and whereas it hath been further represented to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, that the armed men in question, after forcing their way into the said Thomas Garton’s house, fired upon the constable and other persons therein assembled, by which firing John Kilby, of New Basford aforesaid, was killed, and ______ Garton, brother to the said Thomas Garton, and one of his men were wounded;

His Royal Highness, for the better apprehending and bringing to justice the perpetrators of this atrocious outrage and murder, is hereby pleased, in the name and on behalf of His Majesty, to promise His Majesty’s most gracious pardon to any one of them (except the person or persons who actually fired as aforesaid), who shall discover his or their accomplice or accomplices therein, so that he, she, or they may be apprehended and convicted thereof.

SIDMOUTH.

And, as a further encouragement, a reward of TWO HUNDRED POUNDS is hereby offered to ay person (except as is before excepted) who shall discover his, her, or their accomplice or accomplices therein, so that he, she, or they may be apprehended and convicted thereof, or to any person or persons who shall apprehend and bring the said offenders, or any of them, to conviction, or cause them or any of them so to be apprehended and convicted as aforesaid.―Such reward of two hundred pounds to be paid by the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty’s Treasury.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

21st October 1814: The owner of the Nottingham Review, Charles Sutton, apologises for the 'General Ludd' letter

The Nottingham Review of Friday 21st October 1814 contained a brief editorial by the owner, Charles Sutton, for the satirical 'General Ludd' letter published in the previous edition. Sutton was obviously already aware of the storm it had raised, but his apology would not draw a line under the affair:

The Proprietor of the NOTTINGHAM REVIEW, is exceedingly sorry to find that an article which appeared in his last Number has given disgust to some of his friends, who have conceived it as having a tendency to encourage the spirit of insubordination and outrage, which has been so long prevalent in this neighbourhood, and which no man laments more than himself. He will not multiply words upon the subject. He knows his own intentions, and he knows that nothing could possibly be further from his thoughts, either in that article or in any other, which at any time may have appeared in the Review.

21st October 1814: Joanna Southcott publishes an address to her followers

The Leeds Intelligencer of Monday 31st October 1814 published the following article about an address recently given by Joanna Southcott to her followers:

JOHANNA SOUTHCOTT.

This bewildered or wicked woman has published the following Address to her friends:–

"Many of the Believers in my Visitation, as I have been informed, begin to grow impatient in their expectation, as to the marriage spoken of not having taken place, and published a long time before the child should be born; and seeing the harvest nearly ended, "they appear ready to sink in the great deep—the seas before them, and the Egyptian host behind them;" so that where is the promise of either the Marriage or the Child? will soon be the cry of the public; and the believers themselves will be ready to say—‘the harvest is over; the day is ended; and we are not saved.’―From this I see clearly that my enemies would soon boast and triumph, while the Believers would be ready to sink in despair, if the way they are stumbled in remained without being answered and explained. In order, therefore, to give away such a state of mind in the Believers, I take this opportunity of informing them, that when the marriage was first mentioned to me, it was before I had any knowledge of what would follow; I was warned that a private marriage would first take place in my own house, which afterwards was to be granted to be realized in public.

"This circumstance stumbled me, and also my friends, who were made acquainted with it, because at that time there appeared no necessity for such a private marriage to take place in haste; but now I see cause enough, from the dangers which begin to appear; so that, from my present situation, and my own feelings, I can judge the truth of the words that are already in print. For, if there be ‘no Son’, there will be ‘no adopted Father,’ and no marriage to be binding: because it will be but a temporary marriage, from which death must soon release me. But who the bridegroom is must not be publicly made known, after the marriage hath taken place, until the child be born. Thus, taking the whole into consideration, it is clear to me that the marriage and the birth of the child may, and will, most likely take place within, perhaps, less than a day the one before the other; therefore the Believers may from this hint be able to form a correct judgment, and check their impatience, so as not to look for the Sixth Book immediately after the marriage shall have taken place; but that the Sixth and Seventh Books, to complete the wonders, as before said, will be in order, and in right time, both after the birth of the child shall have taken place.

JOANNA SOUTHCOTT.

October 21, 1814.

Monday, 20 October 2014

20th October 1814: The Solicitor General gives an initial legal opinion on prosecuting Charles Sutton

My Lord;

I regret much that I was in London when your Lordship did me the honor to call at Wimbledon. I perused the mischievous and wicked letter, and I think it is the Subject of prosecution particularly the letter part which states that the outrages at Nottingham are not so bad as the proceedings of his Majesty’s Troops at Washington; I can assimilate this to the libel published by Horne Took in the beginning of the american War, in which he stated that the americans had been murder’d by the King’s Troops, there was no doubt that this was libellous tho’ I think speaking from Recollection there were some Error in some part of that Indictment which precur’d a reversal of the Judgement in the house of Lords. I write only from Recollection but will to morrow look for the Case. I am to be in town to morrow to meet the Attorney General and will shown the paper my present notion is that the printer and publisher should be prosecuted. If it is wished in the [extent] as tending to encourage the thoughtless and deluded who cannot think or reason for themselves. these are my first impressions I know your Lordship will not be offended if on maturer consideration of my own or of others such impression should be altered—

I have [etc]
Saml Shepherd

Wimbledon
Thursday octr 20. 1814

[To Lord Sidmouth]

Sunday, 19 October 2014

19th October 1814: The Home Secretary requests a legal opinion about the prosecution of Charles Sutton

Richmond Park
Octr 19th 1814

Dear Sir,

I herewith inclose a Letter from a very intelligent, and most well disposed Gentleman in Nottingham, and the Newspaper to which he refers.—"The melancholy Business" to which Mr. A alludes, as having taken Place immediately after the Publication of this Paper, was a most [flagrant] Outrage, which had murder for it’s Object; and which occasioned the Death of a very respectable man (not the obnoxious Person) who was shot.—A principal leader of the Assailants was shot by one of the Constables, who behaved with great Spirit.

The Conviction, and Punishment of the Printer, or Publisher of the most obnoxious Paper would, I have no doubt produce the best Effect: how far that is likely to be accomplish’d by a Prosecution for the Letter in Question, you will judge, and I shall of course be govern’d by your Opinion.

I am, &c
Sidmouth

P.S. The Promptitude, with which you were so good as to prepare your Report upon the papers, realting to Gloster Jail, enabled me to send them to Bathurst on Saturday. He is perfectly satisfied with your Report—The Gloster Sessions commenced Yesterday

[To] The Solicitor General

19th October 1814: George Coldham suggests that the government offers a reward for information about the attack on Garton

My Lord

On the part of the Secret Committee to whom I have the honor to be Secretary, I am desired to request that your Lordship will have the goodness to direct the immediate attention of the Government of the Prince Regent to the dreadful nature of the late Attack upon Thomas Garton with a deliberate and determined purpose to murder him and the cruel and wicked sacrifice of the life of John Kilby upon the same Occasion.—This Committee are determined to Reward the Constables engaged in this Service in the most liberal manner, they have directed me to give a most liberal Reward to the person from whom I derived my information.—Thomas Garton and his family must the present rest entirely upon them for support, and I calculate their immediate expences occasioned by these combined circumstances to exceed very much the sum of £100.—Under these circumstances, the Secret Committee feel themselves fully warranted to solicit from his Lordship and his Majesty's Government that they would be pleased to offer a reward of £200 or such further Reward as they may judge expedient to any person or persons who may give information of the persons who committed this murder or who were engaged in the Attack upon Mr. Garton’s house whether with the intention of murdering Mr. Garton or of breaking the Frames in his house and offering Pardon to any one or more of accomplices who may be disposed to give evidence against the principals concerned therein if such offer can be made consistently with the forms of Law and the course of conduct usual on such occasions.—The Secret Committee hope your Lordship will deem it no more than proper that under the peculiar circumstances of this Case these Rewards should be offered not only in the name but actually with the intention of being paid by his Majesty's Government.—The Secret Committee have already independent of the expences arising out of the present circumstances, expanding a much more considerable sum in the course of the execution of the duties entrusted to them and their Constituents and they have now the charge of two very heavy Prosecutions at the Assizes which must occasion a further expenditure to a very considerable extent.—I take the liberty of stating to your Lordship that the propriety of offering a Reward must be in a great measure determined by a view to the circumstances in which the Secret Committee is placed, and that it appears to me to be essential that it should be done quite independent of the expectation of any future good to arise out of it, because if worded judiciously it seems to me, that it would Operate as a Shield to our Informant which is admirably calculated admirably calculated to protect him from Suspicion whether the Eyes of these miscreants be fixed upon him with relation to the Past or the future.—I shall hope to hear your Lordship’s sentiments on this subject in order that I may as soon as possible communicate them to the Secret Committee for their Government.—

I am [etc]

Geo Coldham Ssecretary—

Nottingham
19 Octr 1814

[To] The Rt Honble Lord Sidmouth.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Thursday, 16 October 2014

16th October 1814: George Coldham relates the circumstances of the attack on Thomas Garton to the Home Secretary

Nottingham 16 October 1814

My Lord,

After the Perusal of my Letter the written by Desire of the Magistrates of yesterday you will be aware of the general Bearing of the circumstances relating to the Attack upon Thomas Garton’s House but I thought it due to myself & your Lordship to explain a little more fully than I could even to the Magistrates, the peculiar Situation in which I was placed & the nature of the Information under which I acted. On Thursday Afternoon I received Information that on Sunday it was the Intention of a Band of the Luddites to assemble for the purpose of Destroying Thomas Garton. I received this Information from one was to be of the Party & who was in the confidence of the Leaders of the Plot. By Friday Morning I sent for Garton & his Brother & arranged with them that Thomas Garton should leave his own House & be placed in a State of Safety on Saturday Morning & that then we should concert measures for the Security of the House & if (as I was given to understand we should) we had previous Notice of the time of the Attack for the apprehension of the Assailants. On Friday at ½ past 6 OClock in the Afternoon I was given to understand the same that it had been that moment settled by this Band of Scoundrels that the Attack should be made at 8 OClock that as soon as ever they could arm themselves & proceed to the place. I immediately proceeded to the Police Office & ordered my Clerk to assemble the most confidential of our Constables & instantly went myself to the Commanding Officer in the Town & being cloathed with authority from both the Town & County Magistrates I required of him a Guard to proceed instantly to Thomas Garton’s House & bring him in Safety away. It was now nearly 7 oClock the Officer Declared that the Discipline of the Regiment did not permit of his Doing so & that he must & could only refer me to Colonel Mudie at the Barracks which be about ½ a Mile or more from the Town. To Colonel Mudie I proceeded all along [impressed] with the Idea that the Man must be taken away by 8 oClock or he would be Destroyed imagining very difficult to have a force assembled in the House competent to meet the Attack by that time Basford being about two Miles off. I not with considerable Difficulty in persuaded or Directing Colonel Mudie to furnish me with a Guard but after some time I procured six Men & standing by all the time to see & urge their Dispatch at about half Seven they were sent off & returned the some time afterd with Garton safe to the Police Office. In the mean time my Clerk had applied to Mr Ashwell our Mayor who with all the promptitude which distinguishes his Judgement sent off his own Secretary as a Messenger in the manner Described in my more publick Letters. As soon as I returned to the Police Office we were diligently employed in Dispatching our Constables well armed to Thomas Garton’s House. We had scarcely done this effectually ere we learnt from our Constables Barnet & Griffin that the Attack had been made & then the Magistrates Dispatched another party of Dragoons to the Assistance of the Person stationed at Basford & if possible to apprehend the Assailants. The Depositions shew your Lordship the result. I have received full Instructions from the Society of which I am Secretary to reward handsomely the Constables our Informant & all the parties operating to those measures which however it may be lamented they have not been more effectual in producing the Convictions of some of the Confederates have saved an important & valuable Life & we will hope by the Destruction of one of the most active of these Miscreants in the very Attempt at Murder will operate an important Lesson in deterring from similar Attempts in future.

I have [etc]

Geo Coldham Town Clerk

[To Lord Sidmouth]

16th October 1814: The Nottingham Solcitor, Louis Allsop, calls for the prosecution of the owner of the Nottingham Review

Nottingham
16. Oct. 1814

My Lord,

Mr Coldham, I understand, has communicated to your Lordship, the Affair which has taken place in this neighbourhood on Sunday Evening last, which, he is much better enabled to do with accuracy than I possibly can. My object in addressing your Lordship is to request your Lordship's Attention to a letter signed "General Ludd" in the Nottingham Review of this Week, which paper is transmitted herewith; Your Lordship will recollect that I have before stated the great mischief this paper had done in the course of the unfortunate proceedings in this County by the insidious Encouragement it has held out to those Wretches & most particularly on the former occasion of a Man being shot at Bulwell—This letter has given general dissatisfaction by appearing immediately before the Commission of this last melancholy business presents a good opportunity, (in case it shd be considered of such a tendency so to render the Printer & Publisher amenable to the Laws) of taking such a Step—It is much highly desireable that this man should be punished; the [leading] Mischief of this Letter I need not point out to your Lordship, it is deserving of your Lordships consideration, to direct the proper opinions to be taken, whether under the present Circumstances of this part of the Country such a Letter has not a Tendency to encourage the proceedings of the Luddites & consequently such an offence as can be made amenable to the Laws. The paper sent herewith is marked by the person I sent to purchase it, but in case your Lordship should think it proper to commence any proceedings, I had better receive directions in the regular Way to purchase another paper as that will appear better on the Trial, than purchasing one in the way I directed this to be done, which I did as a matter of Precaution, in case we are not able to get one afterwards

Your Lordship may command my Services in any Way you may direct & I have the Honor to be

my Lord,
with great Respect
your Lordships
most obed Servt

L Allsopp

[To] Lord Simouth

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

15th October 1814: George Coldham informs the Home Secretary about the attempt on Thomas Garton's life

My Lord,

I am desired by the Magistrates of the Town of Nottingham to refer your Lordship to the former communications, made to you on the part of the Mayor and Aldermen for their Opinion of the extent and danger of that extensive Conspiracy existing amongst the Framework knitters of this District, in order, for the destruction of the Frames the property of their masters and other acts of violence to controul the management of the Trade and dictate the amount of the wages to be paid to the labouring hand.—The system of Framebreaking had almost entirely subsided until about June last when several Frames were broken and amongst the rest some Frames at the house of Thomas Garton of Basford were destroyed the house being violently and burglariously broken into by several persons amongst whom one James Towle was recognized by Thomas Garton and upon his Testimony he was committed for trial at the Assizes.—This circumstance has excited much terror amongst the active members of the Combination they imagining that the case would reach the life of James Towle and they have ever since vowed Vengeance upon Thomas Garton.—Several circumstances have lately occurred to induce a belief that plans have been in agitation to destroy Thomas Garton on the part of those who were possessed of the means of confidential a Information in consequence of the Society lately instituted by the Hosiers.—Last night information was obtained that this intention was about to have been executed at or about 8 oClock.—In consequence of having been specially authorized by both the Town and County Magistrates upon all urgent occasions to command in their name the application of a portion of the Military force of the District to the emergency of the moment, I, immediately dispatched under the directions of one of the Constables of the Town who had been sworn in a Peace Officer at the County a Military Guard who brought Thomas Garton away from his house and disposed of him in safety in the Town.—Whilst a party of the Constables of the Town of Nottingham were dispatched to Mr. Garton’s home at Basford, to keep Guard there—At the time I set off to solicit the aid of Colonell Mudie at the Barracks a Messenger was dispatched to Mr. Thomas Garton who reached him previous even to the Military escort from the Barracks, and afterwards proceeded to his brother's house who lived a mile and a half further distant and brought him to the assistance of Thomas Garton’s house and property.—

The Copies of the Depositions which accompany this letter it is hoped will furnish a full detail of the events which occurred at Thomas Garton's house from the time he left it till the morning when the Constables returned home.—It appears from that Detail at about half past 9 o’Clock the house was attacked and entered by force by the foremost of a Band from 7 to 10 men armed with Swords and Pistols.—The leader of this set of Ruffians brandished a Pistol and called out where is he, and several of these men actually let fired their Pistols upon which a Volley was fired from the Constables and persons stationed in the House by which a man of the name of Bamford a very notorious Framebreaker supposed to have been engaged in the first Outrage at Gartonls house was killed and two or three more were wounded, and unfortunately nearly at the same time a most respectable man and a near neighbour at whose house the wife of Garton had sought refuge was killed by a Pistol Shot from the Assailants The man still threaten vengeance upon their Opponents.—The Magistrates of the County and the Town under these circumstances, feel themselves under the absolute necessity of requesting that a portion of Infantry not less than 200 in number may be immediately stationed in the Town to enable them to meet with promptitude such Outrages as may be in future planned by these desperadoes.—This request has once before been made to your Lordship as Secretary of State of the Home Department, and altho’ the Magistrates have felt every anxiety to accommodate themselves as much as possible to the exigencies of the State, Experience has shewn that the system of lawless violence here in operation cannot be properly and effectually opposed without a competent force of Infantry.—From private Information upon which we can depend it appears to be a fact, that the attack upon Thomas Garton's house was made with a deliberate intention to commit murder and there is too much reason to fear that the present system of the Desperadoes who still adhere to the Conspirators is to keep a system of terror by taking the lives of those most obnoxious to them or necessary to secure the Lives of their Associates in Crime.—

I have [etc]

Geo Coldham
Town Clerk

Nottingham
15th Octr. 1814.

[To: Lord Sidmouth]

15th October 1814: Nottingham magistrates inform the Home Secretary of recent events and requests troops

Nottingham 15th October 1814

My Lord

The Magistrates of the County of Nottingham have for some time had great reason to believe that there is an organized system and combination amongst the Manufacturers and others of this County, and of the Town of Nottingham, for the Committing of the most violent outrages against the Public Peace. A person of the name of Towle is now confined in the County Gaol for breaking into a House with others, in the month of September last, to destroy Stocking Frames in the House of Thomas Garton of Basford near Nottm.—Towle is Committed on the testimony of Garton, who has been threatened with revenge and was alarmed lest he should be murdered to prevent his testimony.

The Town Clerk of Nottm it is understood will inclose to your Lordship, by this Post, Copies of Depositions which will inform your Lordship what happened last Night, and the Magistrates are strongly of Opinion that they will not be able to maintain the Peace of the County by the Civil Power alone.

The Commanding Officer of the Cavalry stationed near Nottm being averse to his Men being separated from their Horses or acting dismounted. We as Magistrates of the County have to request that your Lordship will have the goodness to give directions that a competent force of Infantry perhaps not fewer than 200, may be sent to Nottm as early as possible to be distributed in such Villages as the Magistrates shall direct.

We have [etc]

Charles Wilde
Fran. Evans
John Kirkby
John Longden

[To: Lord Sidmouth]

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

14th October 1814: Armed attack on the home of Thomas Garton leaves a Luddite and bystander dead

The home of Thomas Garton had been raided, and six knitting frames had been destroyed, on 4th September 1814. Shortly afterwards, a framework-knitter called James Towle had been arrested and placed in custody awaiting trial following Garton identifying him as was one of the Luddites involved in the raid.

Since that time, Garton's life has been threatened. The Town Clerk, George Coldham, had an informant involved with the Luddites, and he had been alerted by this person on Thursday 13th October that an attack on Garton's home would take place on Sunday 16th, with a view to killing him to prevent evidence being given against Towle at his trial. On Friday morning, Coldham summoned Thomas Garton and his brother and explained to them what he knew. He suggested that Garton should be moved to a safehouse on Saturday morning and measures taken to secure the house with a view to arresting any attackers.

But Coldham received more news from the informant at 6.30 p.m. on Friday 14th that the attack on Garton's home had been brought forward to 8.00 p.m. that evening. Coldham wasted no time and dispatched a constable to move Garton to safety at the Police Office in Nottingham, as well as other constables to go to Garton's house and another to alert Garton's brother to come to his aid.

Constables Benjamin Hall and John Flude arrived at Garton's house at 7.30 p.m. Three of Garton's journeymen and 2 apprentices were there, one of them armed with a stick, the rest unarmed. Shortly, 4 more constables from Nottingham arrived, armed with cutlasses and guns. Finally, Garton's brother and his son and two servants arrived, bringing more weapons.

After 2 hours, nothing had happened, and two constables - Griffin and Barnes - were dispatched to fetch some food and drink.

But within 10 minutes, those inside heard what sounded like a hammer banging on the front door of the house, and voices could be heard in the passageway at the side of the house - someone later estimated 10 men were outside. The door being forced open, 3 men rushed in, with one of them calling out "damn him! where is he? where is he?" - this was followed by 3 or 4 shots being fired into the house by the intruders. The force of the shots was so great that soot fell from the chimney, almost putting out the fire in the hearth in the parlour, with candles going out. One constables said "be steady lads, give them a volley" and the constables returned fire - one of the intruders dropped to the ground, and others fell outside in the passageway. All was then quiet.

However, the noise and commotion had excited interest elsewhere. A neighbour of Garton came to his front door, but was swore at and threatened by a man who threatened to 'blow his brains out'. Mrs Garton was at the house of a neighbour, William Kilby, who lived only 30 yards from Garton's. Mrs Garton had heard the noise and became alarmed - Kilby rushed out to his door, but was hit by  a bullet from a gun. He fell down dead. Later reports accused the Luddites of killing Kilby, but one constable present - Robert Lineker - later gave a statement which clearly stated Kilby was shot at the time they returned fire - it was possible, but not acknowledged, that a stray shot aimed at the Luddites had killed him.

The constables in the house expected another attack to be made and set about reloading their weapons. A light was found, and it was then clear the intruder that had fallen was dead - his head being shattered by shots. No trace of any remaining intruders could be found, but it was apparent that Garton's brother was injured in one hand, and one of the men he had brought had minor wounds in his stomach. Mrs Garton then arrived and told the constables what had happened outside.

An hour passed without incident, and the two constables that had left returned, bringing with them six dragoons. The whole group didn't leave until it was almost dawn.

The raiders had escaped into the night. The raider who was killed in Garton's house was later identified as Samuel Bamford, originally from Basford, but latterly living in Nottingham.