Thursday, 17 January 2013

17th January 1813: Lieutenant Cooper reports from Elland

Elland 17th January 1812. [sic]


Agreeable to the directions I have the Honor to receive from you when at Wakefield last thursday, I have made every possible enquiry relative to the feelings and disposition of the People since the conviction of the Culprits at York.

Those I have conferred with on the subject tell me they have no doubt but disaffection prevails as strongly as ever, they think that the Execution of a few men will make no impression upon those Gangs that have escaped detection or indeed any persons who did not intimately know the Sufferers and lived immediately in their neighbourhood. They have no doubt that that the Luddites believe their detection alone owing to the Military and that should the latter be removed they shall expect them to break out with redoubled fury, instigated by revenge towards those persons who have shewn themselves adverse to their proceedings, particularly by cooperating with the Soldiers—

They say, Elland has ever had a great number of disaffected and riotous Inhabitants, and they [illegible] assured that they have been restrained from the commission of depredations entirely by the presence of the Military and it is a general belief among their principal Inhabitants that they are in great danger of assassination if that protection be withdrawn during the Winter.

I believe it to be the intention of the Gentleman of the Township of Elland to send a Deputation to be you will not deprive them wholly of the aid of the Military and to beg a few Soldiers rather than none.

What I have written nearly expresses the sentiments of the quietly dispose part of the Inhabitants of this place as delivered to me, but not the alarm, which appears to be very great, lest the Military should leave them. Some of them have expressed a determination to quit the Country themselves during the Winter if there are not Soldiers in it.

I am not qualified to give an opinion on the subject, I have certainly reason to believe that hitherto many Robberies if not murders have been prevented by the vigilance of the Patroles, but what affect the execution of the Convicts may have upon the ill disposed part of the community it is impossible to ascertain immediately, I understand there is no external appears alarm or surprize created by the event.

The Inhabitants of Elland deserve much credit for their personal exertions during the time I have been at Elland, they have shewn much activity and cooperated with the Military with much zeal whenever call’d upon, and if any distinction could be allowed for such conduct, they have a claim to it—

I enclose an anonymous letter, received by Mr. Cartledge (the Chief Constable of Elland) he has had one since threatening his life and saying that though Mellor had been hanged, he died game and there were many Mellors left to revenge him.

Mr Cartledge possesses an undaunted soul and I believe a perfect stranger to fear, but he coincides with the general opinion that the soldiers should not be withdrawn during the Winter Months not ‘till the days are longer, when people will be better enabled to guard against private assassination. The anonymous letters he very properly treats with contempt, but employs himself secretly to discover the Author. He will probably be one of the persons deputed to call upon You when he will relate some other curious circumstances that have lately occurred to him which if I reported would take up much of your time and perhaps appear to you extraneous.

I have no interest or desire to stay at Elland but should wish to be and should consider myself honored by being employed actively and usefully by you in any place or situation.

I had a report brought me, last night, that a Robbery had been committed at Halifax last week and that a hundred pounds weight of Tobacco were stolen at the time, if it is a fact I should presume you must have had the particulars.

I have [etc]
Alf. Cooper Lieut.
West Suffolk Militia

[To] Major General Acland
&c &c &c

This letter can be found at HO 40/2/3.

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