Tuesday, 25 April 2017

25th April 1817: Charles Mundy writes to the Home Secretary about the wanted Luddite, Christopher Blackburn


Burton April 25th 1817
near Loughborough

My Lord

I have the Honour to state in addition to what your Lordship will have received in a letter from Mr. Allsopp written while I was with him yesterday some circumstances of difficulty that we feel ourselves plaid in respect respecting Christopher Blackburn who it is ascertained is now in the neighbourhood of Nottingham.—I understand that while when John Blackburn was first taken in the attack on my Lord Middletons gamekeeper he was detained for some days at the House Lord Middletons House before he was removd to the House of Correction of Nottingham & that a promise was there made to him by Lord Middleton and Mr Rolleston that his brother should not be included in the consequences that might result from any discoveries he might be disposed to make.—I have always understood from Savage & John Blackburn that Christopher knew more of the planning of the Ludding mischief than any one else & that he was also privy to a great deal of political mischief.—There is no doubt but he might be made an evidence against Frank Ward, Frank White, Jewkes & Neale as accessaries to the Loughborough outrage & probably against Benjamin Badder also, who is as bad a character as any of the others. it is not impossible but he might furnish something against Gravener Henson. Withers, whose sister he married, told me he thought he was concerned in every thing, and John Blackburn says that Christopher was to have conducted the proposed attack on the barracks at Nottingham.—

The difficulty that we feel is this, if he is apprehended & it turns out that he cannot give the evidence we want that we cannot support him so as to give effect to his testimony, how shall we dispose of him so as to keep good faith with his brother? The Bill is found by the Grand jury against him as against the others for the Loughborough outrage.—I was not aware that he had been included in the Indictment till I was so informed by Mr. Lockett to whom I went on Wednesday last to ascertain that point. I had always understood he was to be left out.—It might possibly be the best way to try to open a communication with him & endeavour to persuade him to surrender himself voluntarily, this will be difficult as his brother John is too great a rascal to trust at large for such an Employ, added to which he would be afraid of going to Nottingham. It would be the greatest of all objects as far as the Ludding system goes to conflict Frank Ward & Badder and if White, Jewkes & Neale who have absconded could be discoverd & taken it would be a great object to convict them especially the two former. This with the punishment of some of the perjured Alibi witnesses following so close on the late Executions would bid fair to annihilate the system.—as White Jewkes & Neale have all friends & close connexions in and about Loughborough it is probable that if your Lordship thought it right to examine letters at the post office the place of their retreat might be discover’d.—I had much conversation with Mr. Alsopp on the subject of the statement made by Savage and as to the possibility of dealing with Burton of Sandy Lane as recommended in the last letter I had the Honour of receiving from your Lordship.—When Mr. Hooley returns, who is better acquainted with the [stocking] manufacturers than almost any body, the attempt must be set on foot. I find this Burton has been long in the habit of travelling the Country selling Political Books &c.—and is probably well acquainted with the members of Committees & the delegates or missionaries in different parts of the kingdom.—

I can I feel a strong desire to obtain by some means an interview with Christopher Blackburn if it could be arrang’d.—it is very probable he might furnish a Clue to more things than the mere concerns of Luddism.—

I believe Mr. Alsopp will have the Honour of waiting on your Lordship in few days.—The death of a near relation of Mrs Charles Mundy for whose widow & children I have much business to transact will compel me to leave Burton on Monday Morning next for a few days. should your Lordship have any Commands for me I will beg the favour of their being directed to Washenborough near Lincoln.—the distance from Nottingham is little more than thirty miles.—I hope to be at Burton again by the end of the week of which I will have the Honour of informing your Lordship.—I do not exactly know when Mr. Hooley is expected to return.—

I have [etc]

C. G. Mundy

[To] The Right Honourable
Viscount Sidmouth

This letter can be found at HO 42/164.

No comments:

Post a Comment