Sunday, 13 August 2017

13th August 1817: Charles Mundy informs the Home Secretary of the whereabouts of John Hill & Christopher Blackburn

Burton August 13th
Near Lougborough

My Lord

I have the Honour to inform your Lordship that John Blackburn came to me a few days since to inform me that John Hill, one of those concerned with him in the outrage at Lougborough, was concealed in a House at Nottingham. I wrote to Mr. Lockett to know if he had rec.d any directions from your Lordship respecting those men against whom Bills were found by the Grand Jury at the last Lent Assizes at Leicester but who had not been apprehended  if this member John Hill is one.―as there will be no possibility of convicting any of them without the testimony of John Blackburn or William Burton I beg the favour of being instructed by your Lordship what steps to take concerning John Hill.―As I have received no answer from Mr. Lockett I presume he is from home.―John Blackburn also informed me that his Brother Christopher is working at the embankments in the Fens of Lincolnshire, the usual resort of those who are driven from this part of the Kingdom.―Would your Lordship think it advisable to endeavour to allure him to return & give Evidence against Frank Ward now in custody under your Lordships warrant on suspicion of treasonable practices? but against whom I apprehend we have no case whatever for a jury.―Savage & Joshua Mitchell both told me before their execution that the Loughborough Job was arranged between Frank Ward & Christopher Blackburn, if Ward could be convicted as an accessory before that Outrage it would be a most effectual blow against the revival of Ludding. How far Christopher Blackburns evidence might go or how far it might be possible to [confirm] him of course I can form no idea till without seeing him.―I am sorry to say things are not in a good footing between the workmen & the Hoziers.―there is plenty of work but the prices in general given are so low that no workmen can maintain a family. This has given rise to a sort of warfare between the parish Officers & the Hoziers. the former having proclaimed their intention of supporting the men without work whose masters will not give an advanced price. some of the Hoziers have adopted the advanced price, & I am assured by several very respectable Hoziers that it is no more than the trade can well afford to give. but many of the Hoziers, & those the most opulent & of the most extensive business still give the low price. they have also enlarged the size of the pieces making a yard of work to consist of forty two Inches instead of thirty six. but when the piece is sold to the shopkeeper the yard is only thirty six Inches. I fear those desperate may without close watching lead to dangerous combinations again on the part of the workmen who at present are very quiet

I have the Honour to remain
My Lord your Lordships most Obedient
Very Humble Servant
C. G. Mundy

Friday, 4 August 2017

4th August 1817: Charles Mundy sends an update on the Informers Blackburn & Burton to the Home Office

Burton August 4.th 1817
Near Loughborough

My dear Sir

Blackburn & Burton have both decided that they should like to go with their wives & families to America if any mode can be pointed out of their earning a living there. This decision was not finally made until a day or two immediately previous to Leicester assizes. the letter from the Gaoler informing me of it did not reach me so soon as it ought to have done owing to my being it at Derby in attendance to give evidence before the Grand Jury in the Reason Bills. & on my return home I found Mrs Charles Mundy whom I had left ill still so & all my three children in a state of the utmost danger. this prevented my attending the assizes at Leicester I wrote to Mr. Lockett who I knew was there to beg he would see Blackburn & Burton & tell them to remain quietly in Leicester Gaol till I rec.d directions from Lord Sidmouth respecting their wish of going to America.

unfortunately, Caldwell had having pleaded guilty & Lockett having no other business there he was gone home to derby before my servant got to Leicester with my letter.―In consequence of these accidental circumstances Blackburn & Burton heard nothing from me.

The undersheriff, (Mr. Miles) & some others I believe went to the men, and as they describe it told them some one thing & some another” & puzzled them till they did not know what to do―The High Sheriff went to Mr. Justice Bailey & stated that two men were in Gaol without any charge & commitment but justice Bailey conscientiously felt himself justified compelled to ordering them to be discharged the day he left the Town & at ten OClock at night they arrived at my House without money or place of refuge. I determined then after consulting with them what would  be best for them to do till I could hear from Lord Sidmouth respecting their going to America they determined that Blackburn should remain here all night & set out early in the morning for Kettering in Northamptonshire & stay with his father there and that Burton should go on in the dark to his Wives father at New Radford, Nottingham: this subjected to us thinking it a dangerous plan for Burton but he was bent upon it and said he would get there in the night & remain concealed till I send to him.

I gave them a pound note each for their present support but I own I feel nervous about them especially Burton. as soon as Lord Sidmouth determines in the mode of conveying & providing for them I shall be glad to be inform’d.―

Would Lord Sidmouth now think it worth while to set John Blackburn to work to find his Brother Christopher and try to persuade him to surrender & to give evidence against Frank Ward as an accessary before the fact of the Loughborough Job? Frank Ward is now in custody under Lord Sidmouths Warrant on suspicion of Treasonable practices but we have nothing to support any charge. he is such a rascal & so mischievous a fellow it would be a good thing to transport him.―

I remain dear Sir
Ever yours faithfully
C.G. Mundy

If the Sheriff & Mr. Justice Bailey would have been quiet the two men would have remained quietly in Gaol they had both signd their consent to remain there.

[To] H. Hobhouse Esq

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

1st August 1817: The suspected Luddite, Frank Ward, writes to Lord Sidmouth from his cell at Oxford Castle

Oxford Castle August 1. 1817

My Lord

When I was taken from my home I had a respectable business that imployed nine frames. but the last account I received from my Wife informs me that she as not received anay Work since I was taken and my Lord I have a wife and four Children that wholy depended on that business so soport and as been inabled by it to pay taxes to the amount of nearly £20 a year. but in my abstance the business is Lett for want of me to superintend it and if the taxes must be paid while I ham kept from home the business must be broke up and my family be brought to Distress and Ruin. and why My Lord must this sevear punishment be inflicted upon an innocent and helpless familey it is not because their farther is gilty of the crime he is charged with. no My Lord. I declare my innocence and solicet proof of my gilt. and the olney faviour I ask your Lordship is spedeley to bring me to trial. that I may prove my innocence to the Disgrace of those. that have so wickardly and maliciously Slanded and ruined me. and my family. and Deciveingly have deceived and imposed upon your Lordship. to the ingury of your Lordship in your precent situation and carracter. and my Lord I humbly look to you for redress and I hope I may not look in vain―I hope and trust your Lordship will give me your advice weather my Wife must pay the taxes or no in my abstance I hope a acte of compassion to a destressed and helpless familey  your Lordship condescend to answer this Letter and I Remain My Lord your Lordships Most Humble and most obedient Servent

Frances Ward.

PS―

My Lord

Whe saperately and jointly Humbly thank your Lordship for your kindness in permitting us to be togeather 3 or 4 hours per Day and prays your Lordship will permit us to be to Geather constant as there is an apartment in the prison witch whould make us mutch more comfortable wheir whe both might be to geather if it meetes your Lordships approbation whe shall be very thankfull