Wednesday, 10 January 2018

10th January 1818: The Luddite John Clarke (aka 'Little Sam') arrives in Australia

'View of Sydney Cove from Dawes Point' by Joseph Lycett, c.1817/1818
On Saturday 10th January 1818, the transport ship 'The Ocean' arrived at Port Jackson, Sydney, Australia after a voyage of 142 days and carrying 180 male convicts.

Among them were two prisoners called John Clarke, one of whom was also known as 'Little Sam' and had been convicted 10 months earlier of shooting at John Asher during the 'Loughborough Job' and sentenced to death, although the Judge later respited this to transportation for life.

Clarke and his fellow convicts had left England from Spithead on 21st August 1817, and had arrived at St. Helena on 31st October, remaining there for a week before continuing to Australia. Conditions on board were better than normal aboard such transport ships; even so, that by the time that the ship arrived at Sydney, 2 of the convicts who had originally boarded the ship had died of consumption.

After arrival, Clarke and his namesake were amongst a group of prisoners sent on to Windsor, New South Wales.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

9th January 1818: Francis Ward writes to the Home Secretary to ask for money to attend his own trial

My Lord

I am one of those unhappy persons who has been arrested and detained under the Habeus Corpus Suspension Act, and was liberated on the 13th of Novr 1817 on my own recognisee; which requires me to appear in London on the latter end of this month (January) if it is your Lordships intention now, that I shall attend at the time and placed specified in the bond, I am ready to appear; but as I was by my arrest deprived of a seat of work, and am still unemploy’d, your Lordship will perceive the absolute necessity of yourself furnishing me with the means of travelling to London, my existence when there, and also the means of travelling home. A speedy answer to these remarks,

Will much
Oblige Your
Obedient Servant.
F Ward


Jany 9th 1818.

To Lord Viscount Sidmouth, Secretary
Of State for the Home Department.

P. S. Address. Hollow Stone. Nottingham

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

2nd January 1818: Francis Ward publishes an account of his arrest and imprisonment on grounds of High Treason

The 31st December 1817 edition of the Black Dwarf contained this letter from the Nottingham framework-knitter and political activist Francis Ward, who had been detained on charges of High Treason for several months in 1817. The letter is his response to an article from the (London) Observer newspaper, which stated that the government spy William Oliver had met with him and Gravenor Henson and others prior to the Pentrich Rising. The Nottingham Review of Friday 2nd January 1818 published it in full.


[From a London Paper.]


SIR―In a number of your paper for November, your correspondent, signed M.P., solicits a particular account of the arrest, treatment &c of those persons who have been confined under the suspension act—In compliance with that request, I beg leave to lay before you the following remarks.

I reside in Hollow stone, parish of St. Mary's, Nottingham. At the time of my being arrested, was employed in the fancy-work manufactured here. Have a wife and four children; and a mother of ninety years of age, all dependent on me for support. On the 10th of June last, twelve or thirteen police officers entered my house, one of them (Mr. Lawson) said, "Mr. Ward, we are come to search your house." I asked by what authority they came to do so, some of them said, "you may be sure we are not come without authority;" I replied, shew me it, or you shall not search my house; immediately Mr. Lawson held up in his hand a paper, and said, "here it is." I requested him to read it; he said, "the law would not justify him in reading it until we got before a magistrate"—While this conversation was passing between me and Lawson, all the rest of the constables went into different parts of my house, and I, perceiving there was no alternative, suffered them to search without seeing or hearing the warrant read, after a long and fruitless effort. When they had reached down a CANISTER, and even peeped into a THIMBLE, they frankly acknowledged "there was nothing to be found which they were looking for." I asked what they were looking for; one of them observed, "you have THAT to find out," and then they all went away! Not being satisfied with such unreasonable, and, as I thought, unlawful proceedings, I went and consulted an attorney; he advised me to make application for a copy of the warrant by which my house was searched, and the names of the constables it was delivered to. I applied accordingly to the Town Clerk, but he observed, "you have no right to a copy," this he repeated, and added, with considerable emphasis, "you may make application, but, know what advice I shall give." I went directly to the police office, what I saw Mr. Alderman Soars, and acquainted him with my business, he said, "go backwards," and immediately ordered a Constable to take me into custody. After being in this situation more than an hour, Mr. Alderman Barber, a near neighbour, came to me, and said, "I am sorry for you, as I believe you to be an honest industrious man, but I would advise you to withdraw your application," (this he repeated several times,) "it is a dangerous case to press; however, you will not by any means consider me as talking to you as a Magistrate, but as a friend." I told that the treatment I had already received was unmerited; at all events, I was determined to press my application for that which I had a right to demand: he then left me. Not more than an hour had expired after this interview, when I was taken before a Bench of Magistrates that was then sitting. Mr. Enfield then inquired me what my application was; I informed him, it was a copy of the warrant issued for the searching of my house, and the names of the Constables it was delivered to; he ordered me to be taken away for some time, until the Magistrates had consulted how they might dispose of my case. In half an hour, I was again introduced to the Magistrates, when Mr. Enfield informed me that they have agreed NOT to grant my request, and that I was still detained for being concerned in the Loughborough Outrage. Here he (the Town Clerk) alluded to the framebreaking which took place in Loughborough, on the 28th or 29th of June, 1816. I was taken to the town jail, where I remained in one of the dampest holes that none was ever combined in; and although it is more than six months ago, I at this time experience upon my lungs the bad effects of lying in that damp cell. I continued in that wretched place until the 14th, having nothing allowed me but bread and water for sustenance, with a bed such as felons lay upon, and not only damp, but smelling so strong of brimstone, that it was almost intolerable. On that day, Mr. Alderman Barber, Mr. Enfield, a King's Messenger, and a Bow-street Officer, came to the jail, and informed me I must prepare for a journey, as there was a warrant from the Secretary of State; Mr. Alderman Barber then observed, "the Loughborough business must stand over, (and I have heard no more of it since.) They then went away, and in the course of an hour after the King's messenger and a Bow-street officer, came again and chained me hand and foot to a man of the name of Haynes; before I got into the chaise, he (the Bow-street officer) said, "if I heaved my hand to let the chains be seen, I should be the first that should fail," at the same time holding a pistol in his hand. On the road to London the fetters round my hand gave me such pain, which caused me to comment upon the inherited unmerited punishment I was suffering; the officer observed "you wish to make it appear that you are not a disaffected person; the town clerk informed me that you are much respected* by the mechanics of Loughborough, and Leicester, and the working people in general, so that you are dangerous man to be a large." On the 15th we arrived in London and were taken to the Coold-bath-fields prison. On the 21st I was taken before Lord Sidmouth; his lordship asked me how old I was, I informed him; he told me I was apprehended under a warrant from him, on suspicion of high treason, and that he would commit to close confinement until delivered by due course of law, and added if you have any thing to say, you are at liberty to speak. To this I replied, if every action of my life was painted your lordship in its proper colour, you would say I merited reward, rather than punishment. In vain did I declare my innocence, and challenge proof of my guilt; he observed I was not just unjustly punished, for his information was from a respectable source, and that I should have a list of the evidence against me, and proper notice of my trial before it commenced. I was then conveyed to Cold-bath-fields prison: and on the 24th was with William Cliff, (a young man from Derby,) removed or Oxford Castle: at my arrival at that place, I was confined by myself in a dismal dungeon, (or cell for condemned criminals,) about nine feet square, and when I had a fire in it, I was nearly suffocated with smoke; here I continued for near three months, without being permitted to see any person except the governor or turnkey. Reflect, Sir, for a moment, how I must feel in such a situation, and of so long continuance, when you are told that I had never been within the walls were of a prison before the 10th of June last. In September the number of criminal prisoners were so much increased, that it was found necessary to admit Cliff, and myself into one of the turnkey’s lodges, where I was far more comfortable, enjoying the company of an innocent fellow-sufferer (William Cliff). We had three shillings each per day are allowed for our maintenance. While in solitary confinement the turnkey boarded me for seventeen shillings and sixpence per week. After joining my companion we received our weekly allowance and provided our own food, until the 13th of November, when we were liberated on our own recognizance, to appear in the Court of King's Bench on the first day of next term, and to continue from day to day, and not depart that Court without leave. In the last five or six weeks we had more liberty and better accommodation. The facts, Sir, which I have stated, after to the best of my knowledge correct, and I shall not, if called upon, hesitate to confirm on oath before any magistrate. It is a generally received opinion, self-praise is no recommendation, I shall therefore decline saying any thing of my own character; but as I have been resident in Nottingham between twenty and thirty years, several respectable manufacturers here, who are well acquainted with me as a husband, father, servant, and neighbour, are ready to give every satisfaction which may be required with respect to character but of many I will only select the following: Mr. G. Bradley, lace-manufacturer; Mr. H. Levers, lace-manufacturer; Mr. T. Goodburn, hosier; and Mr. Alderman Barber (at this time Mayor) beforementioned. The above persons may be referred to at any time. I do most solemnly declare, that I never was any way concerned in breaking frames at Loughborough, or joined to the Luddites. Nor was I ever on a political Committee, or attended any such Committee, either secretly or openly; nor have I been a member of any political club whatever. I have been an advocate for Parliamentary Reform, for more than thirty years,—if that is High Treason, I am guilty. But notwithstanding my character stands unimpeached, as numbers can testify, a detestable attempt has been made to ruin it, as the sequel will prove. On the 10th of November, a writer in the Observer has, with all the malignity of an ________, endeavoured to traduce my character to the last degree in his publication of that day: and to make the business more certain, he published that number gratuitously in Nottingham and Derby, (and how much further I cannot say) to both public and private families, to subscribers and non-subscribers,―in fact, after a diligent search with much trouble, I can only find one subscriber to that paper in Nottingham. For the particulars of that diabolical attempt I refer you to the work itself. Now, Sir, after losing my seat of work, being torn away from an affectionate wife, from beloved children, and a poor helpless aged mother, all dependent upon me for support, after being deprived of my liberty, shut up in a dungeon, my health impaired, and on the 10th of November, (three days before my liberation) my character traduced, by a vile wretch, a hireling journalist, I ask in the name of reason, and common honestly, is there no redress for such a complication of grievances? is there not a shadow of justice to be obtained for multiplied injuries? Is a bill of indemnity obtained by corrupt majority, all the satisfaction I and my suffering family are to receive, for unmerited, unheard of persecutions, and losses we have hereby sustained? These remarks, my persecuted friend, I send you, if you, or any of your patriotically acquaintance can turn them to good account in our own, or country’s cause, they are your service―I am, dear Sir,

Your obedient Servant 

P.S.—I take the liberty of saying, that I have not received one shilling, either from a subscription or otherwise, as an indemnity for pecuniary damage sustained, neither do I require it. If I am favored with health and strength, and employment to exercise it, and the blessing of heaven upon my industry, I hope to maintain myself and family with credit and respectability as heretofore. If you think it would answer any good purpose to petition the House of Commons, I should esteem it a great favor to receive the form of a petition from you.

*The Editor has taken no liberty with the style of this letter, but to print a few words in italic characters. This part of the statement is an excellent exposition of the system of the Ministers, As they are not respected, every one who is, is a dangerous character.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

22nd November 1817: The Leicester Chronicle withdraws their previous remarks about James Towle & the Spy Oliver

On Saturday 22nd November 1817, the Leicester Chronicle issued a correction to a column of the previous week:
A respectable Lady of this town called upon us yesterday to assure us that the person who visited James Towle, while under sentence of death in the County gaol, was not the celebrated Mr. Oliver, but a relation of her’s, of the same of Townend, who resides at Holt Town, near Manchester. We can only say, that the circumstance was communicated to us by several respectable persons, with a tone of confidence, and that we believed it at the time. The immaculate Editor of the Journal, who of course never gives insertion to any thing not true, asks―”When the truth could have clearly ascertained, by an application to the county gaol why we should have deemed it necessary to publish a FALSEHOOD, if it had not been to answer a base and nefarious purpose?!!!” We answer―because we conceive such an application from us, would have been unavailing!

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

21st November 1817: A freed Gravenor Henson writes to the governor of Coldbath Fields Prison

Dr Sir

I hope you will excuse my not returning your Coat sooner; which was partly owing to its being so extremely wet, that it took nearly three days drying; it rained all the way from Northampton, and I am fully convinced that to your Kindness, I am indebted to you, for preserving me from a fit of illness (if not) for my Life; when I arrived at Leicester, I shook as though I had an Ague Fit.

I have found my circumstances on coming home in a much worse state than I expected; though the Trade of Nottingham is improved, yet the particular branch of it, that I am employed in presents a most gloomy prospect.

I have been importuned very much to embark in political controversy; arising from a detailed statement given in a paper called the Observer which represents me as being the one of the prime movers of the late disturbances in the County of Derby; it states that I attended at a Meeting in Nottingham on the 27th May, for the purpose of organizing a revolt, though for it is an undeniable Fact that I was in your custody from the 11th April till 13 Novr; I am not aware how much false and impudent statements gets foisted on the Public nor what purpose they can serve; unless it is to persecute without [ceasing] an unoffending Man;

I have taken my resolution, I will not interfere either directly or indirectly in public concerns, and as far as regards myself I can only say, if the World will, why let it be deceived; I am extremely sorry that I could not part in on good terms with His Majesty’s Government, the offence which I gave was purely unintentional on my part,

I saw Mr Bailey on Wednesday, he is well in health, was extremely pleased to learn that your health was so good and very much surprized to hear that Mr Bucket had left

I have nothing further to add than to again return you my sincere thanks for the favors you have conferred on me, and I shall feel myself extremely happy, if ever it lies in my Power to return them either to you or any one of your Family

I am Sir
your much obliged
and Obedient Servant

Gravenor Henson

[To: Mr W Adkins
House of Correction

Friday, 17 November 2017

17th November 1817: Henry Enfield send his bill for supporting Blackburn & Burton to the Home Office

Nottingham Novr. 17. 1817―

My Lord

I beg leave to enclose for to your Lordship the Bill of payments made by me relative to Blackburn & Burton―& to request that your Lordship will direct the Amount to be paid into the Bank of Messrs Smith Payne & Smiths, to my Credit in account with the Nottingham Bank―

I have [etc]

H Enfield

[To] The Rt Hble Lord Sidmouth

[Enfield enclosed a receipt for his payment to the Constable, Benjamin Barnes, who provided the following invoice of the costs he had incurred on Enfield's behalf]

Nottingham 26th September 1817

Mr Enfield

To Benj Barnes


Advanced to Burton at different times}
From 17th August to 25th September} £3 “ 0―0

22 Journey to Kettering to fetch Blackburn}
and Wife 3 Days} £3 “ 3―0
Coach Hire for self to Kettering ― £0 “ 17―0
Coachmen and Guard ― £0 “ 3―0

23 Chaise Hire from Kettering to Harboro’ £0 “ 18―0
Post Boy and Toll Bar £0 ― 4 ―0
Coach Hire from Harboro’ to Nottingham}
for self Blackburn Wife and Child} £1 “ 11―6
Coachmen and Guard £0 “ 6―0
Expences for self, Blackburn, Wife and}
Child three Days £1 “ 10 “ 6

25 Paid for Burton’s Wifes clothes our of Pledge £1 “ 4―10
Bonnet for Mrs Burton £0 “ 6―0
Two Petticoats and Skirt for Mrs Burton £0 “ 13  “ 6
Cloak and Bonnet for the Child £0 “ 8―6
Shoes for Mrs Burton £0 “ 6―0
Great Coat for Burton £1―5 “ 0
Shirt for Burton £0 “ 7―0
Hat for Burton £0 “ 7―6
Shoes for Burton £0 “ 9―0
Pelisse for Mrs Blackburn £1 “ 4―0
Bonnet for [ditto] £0 “ 6―0
Shoes for [ditto] £0 “ 6―0
Cloak and Bonnet for the Child £0 “ 8 “ 6
Pair of Breeches for Blackburn £0 “ 15 “ 0
Shoes for Blackburn £0 “ 9―0
Shirt for [ditto] £0 “ 7―0
Board and Lodging for Blackburn}
and Wife at Nottingham} £0 “ 12 “ 6
Attending with Burton and Blackburn in}
Nottingham} £0 “ 10 “ 6

[Total] £21―18 “ 10

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

15th November 1817: The Leicester Chronicle reports that the spy Oliver visited James Towle in Leicester Gaol

The Saturday 15th November 1817 edition of the Leicester Chronicle reported the following:
It seems that the person who called upon James Towle, while under sentence of death in the County Gaol, and gave him a pound note for his wife, with a promise of some future support for herself and children, was not, what he professed to be, “an eminent Manufacturer in the neighbourhood of Nottingham” (except indeed we may dignify him by that appellation for his manufacture of plots in Derbyshire,) but the celebrated Mr. Oliver!

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

14th November 1817: Lancelot Rolleston sends the indemnifying confessions of Nottinghamshire Luddites to the Home Office

My Lord

I have the honour of enclosing your Lordship four acknowledgements taken by me in comformity to the proclamation issued last summer; I have reason to believe many others would have come forward had they not been dissuaded by old Badder who went round for that purpose. Since I had the honour of seeing your Lordship, I have had frequent opportunities of ascertaining the effect produced by the proceedings of the last year, which I am fully convinced have not only destroyed the spirit of Luddism, but impressed the minds of that class of the [community] with a respect for the Justice, as well as a proper sense of the power of the [laws].

I know your Lordship to be well acquainted with the specious and designing characters of Ward, Henson &c &c but it is not to these men I allude, but their misguided instruments, who profess a just feeling of indignation against their seducers, & will not again I think be easily led to a recommission of similar crimes. My last plan for the apprehension of Christr. Blackburn is laid, but I have very faint hopes of success, but should I succeed, your Lordship shall immediately be informed.

I have [etc]
Lanct. Rolleston

Nov. 14th. 1817

[Confessions follow]

County of Nottingham

I Jonathan Austin of Basford in the County of Nottingham do hereby acknowledge myself to have been a party at the breaking of the frames at Bramcote last summer

my X mark―

Before me July 22nd 1817

Lanct. Rolleston one of his Majesty’s justices of the peace for the said County

County of Nottingham

I Joseph Mellors of Basford in the County of Nottingham do hereby acknowledge myself to have been actively concerned in the framebreaking at Carnel’s house at Bulwell & at the different houses at Lambley in Octr. last

Joseph x Mellors

Acknowledged before me one of his Majesty’s justices of the peace for the said County

this 23rd of July 22nd 1817

Lanct. Rolleston 

I, John Lomas of the parish of Bulwell do hereby acknowledge myself to have been actively concerned in breaking frames at Lambley in Octr. last & also at Thos, Carnells at Bulwell last winter.

Acknowledged before me
one of his Majesty’s justices
of the Peace for the County
of Nottingham

his X mark

Lanct. Rolleston

I, Nathan Diggle of Basford in the County of Nottingham do hereby acknowledge myself to have been actively concerned in breaking frames at Mullins & Wrights at Radford, at Carnell’s at Bulwell, at the different houses in Lambley, & at Bramley, at Bramcote, all in the last two years

Nathan Diggle

Acknowledged before me
One of his Majesty’s justices
Of the Peace for the County of
Notts. This 27th of Aug. 1817

Lanct. Rolleston

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

7th November 1817: A Cheshire rioter from 1812, Richard Wood, is pardoned & set free

Richard Wood had been tried and convicted for unlawful assembly and robbery during the Cheshire disturbances of 1812, at the high point of insurrection during that year in that part of the world.

Aged 27 at the time, he was sentenced to death at Chester Special Commission, but was respited, though unlike some of his co-accused, he was not transported, but was apparently held on the Prison Hulks for 5 years.

According to the Prison Hulk register, he was pardoned on Friday 7th November 1817 & set free.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

11th October 1817: A correspondent to the Nottingham Review blames Parish Officers for the poverty of Framework-knitters

At a time (says a correspondent of the Nottingham Review,) when the public mind is much exercised, on account of the lamentable, and much to be regretted dispute between the Hosiers and their workmen, any means that can be devised to remove the evil, in my opinion ought to be immediately put into practice, therefore I will, by your permission state, that as it is admitted almost by every one who has directed his attention to the subject, that overseers of parishes telling their parishioners, the framework-knitters, that if they could not obtain work at the best prices, to get it at any price rather than come away without, and that they would make up the deficiency, has been a great evil to the trade―I say this has already been proved an evil, and that to an alarming extent, which the parishes little thought of. Therefore in my opinion, (and it is also the opinion of several well informed gentlemen) the parishes should each have a meeting, and resolve not to relive any Framework-knitter, who is in health and strength, and in full work, and if he is so reduced in the price of his labour, that he cannot maintain his family at his business, he ought to leave it, and got to house-row work, or any other work that he can get to do; for it is a shame that men should work fourteen or sixteen hours a day, and after that be obliged to go to the Overseer for relief, as it is now quite common for them to receive from two to seven shilling per week, and in many instances more; and can but just live at that. While this system is pursued, there never will be any peace and comfort amongst the men, for some unfeeling masters, when they find that their poor workmen are relieved by the Parishes, say, “it does not matter to you, what your price is, when the deficiency is made up to you,” so they take off another penny or two—pence per pair, and the workman goes to the Overseer to receive what the Hosier has paid him short of his wages. The fact is, that we now have a new race of paupers* sprung up, for the workman does not receive so much for the quantity of labour, from the hosier and overseer both put together as he formerly did. I saw this week in Nottingham a poor framework-knitter, with some of his work that he had made before the frames were stopped and real good stockings they were, and he declared that he had been making them for 5s. 6d. per dozen, and the same article I am sure was 17s. per dozen in 1814! and a few hosiers to my knowledge have not paid less than 11s. for the same, thus they have been paying 5s. 6d. and he is making other articles nearly as cheap. I must beg pardon of you for taking up so much room of your valuable paper, hoping it will have a good effect, and beg to subscribe myself to your constant reader.

J. H.

N.B. To average the hands, they would not make above a dozen per week, which would be 5s. 6d. at first hand, then if it was a journeyman there would be his expenses, which in winter would be 4s. per week, leaving him only 1s. 6d. to subsist upon; but candour obliges me to acknowledge that this is the worst work I have heard of.

*I allude to those who are paying the lowest of prices, and have run down the poor workman on all occasions.

11th October 1817: The Nottinghamshire Framework-knitters strike is reported to end in failure

On Saturday 11th October 1817, the Leicester Chronicle republished a story from a recent Nottingham Review, that the Framework-knitters strike had ended in relative failure:
Last week a great number of framework-knitters in the country, who had struck for an advance of wages, returned to their employment without gaining the object for which they had turned out. This obliged the hands in the town to follow their example, and on Monday, they went again to their frames, as we are given to understand, without obtaining either an advance or regulation as it regards the hose, but there is some trifling increase in the price given for the making of caps and drawers. Notwithstanding this is the case, we believe a hope is entertained, that though an advance was refused on a turn out of the workmen, something will speedily be conceded to private and respectful application.―Nottingham Review.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

28th September 1817: Viscount Lascelles writes to Lord Sidmouth about the plight of the Croppers

My dear Lord.

In the course of the last Session of [Parliament] your Lordship may recollect that I together with a Deputation from the Cloth Workers, or Croppers, waited upon you upon the subject of an alteration of the Laws respecting Emigration―The ground upon which the application which deprived the Clothworkers of their usual means of employment. The machinery applicable to their particular branch of trade are the Gig mill for raising cloth, and the Shearing Frames for cropping it when raised. Your Lordship well knows that considerable objections have existed in the minds of this class of workmen to the establishment of these machines; that in 1812 some deluded persons attempted by intimidation to restrain the use of them, and that application at different times has been made to [Parliament] for their abolition, but without success. In the last Session of [Parliament] a petition was presented to the House of Commons upon the subject, setting forth, in the most respectful manner, the effect likely to be produced upon the interests of the Petitioners by the increasing use of these machines. A numerous meeting was held in order to discuss the point in question―;and the Parties were unanimously recommended not to incur the expence of proceeding in furtherance of the petition; in consequence of the general opinion which seemed to prevail that [Parliament] would not sanction the abolition of the machines, or lay a restraint upon the fair employment of capital. In failure of the accomplishment of their wishes, the Parties were desirous of being allowed freely to emigrate: and it is upon this part of the question I take the liberty of troubling your Lordship: for I am informed that no expectation is now entertained by the Clothworkers of accomplishing their object. It cannot be doubted that the use of these machines is rapidly increasing throughout the West Riding of Yorkshire, and that they supersede the manual labor of a body of men, amounting, as I am informed, to about 3,500, who have been regularly and almost exclusively brought up, to the exercise of this trade. A Deputation waited upon me last week, and I promised to communicate with your Lordship upon the subject of their present wishes, in order that they might have an opportunity of being considered by Government previous to a more regular application. The persons who communicated with me, allow that the Woollen Trade has considerably revived, and that reasonable hopes may be entertained of its progressive amendment; but that notwithstanding these circumstances, their particular situations will not be improved since the use of machinery deprives them of their usual employment. In all changes of this nature, altho’ considerable inconvenience may be experienced in the first instance, the population affected will generally find employment in other branches of the business, and I make no doubt this will be the case very shortly with some part of the Clothworkers; but still a strong desire is expressed by them to have the assistance of Government in conveying such of them as may wish to emigrate, to North America. According to my own calculation this body may be divided into three parts: that which will find employment in other branches of the Woollen Trade: that which wou’d endeavour to find employment in any Trade or Business rather than emigrate; and that which would prefer emigration as affording them the fairest prospects. The Parties are aware of the regulations furnished by the Colonial Department respecting emigration; but according to them, Individuals must bear the expences of the voyage, which the greater part or perhaps all these persons are unable to do: and the Articles furnished by Government when Grants of Land are made, being according to the means of cultivation possessed by the Grantee: the prospects of an advantageous settlement in the Country are quite hopeless unless Government should, under the particular circumstances of the case, think proper to render them such assistance as will enable them to remove; and secure to them both assistance, and protection for a certain time after their arrival in North America. It must be recollected that the population already engaged in the different branches of the Woollen Trade is probably, uner the present circumstances of that Trade, fully sufficient to supply the demand for labor.

I am aware that difficulties may present themselves in fulfilling the wishes of the Parties, but if they can be overcome I am persuaded the number that will emigrate will not be large. The restraints imposed by the Laws do not appear to be as necessary now as at the time they were made, because not only in Europe, but in other parts of the World, improvements in manufactures are no longer unknown.

I remain
My dear Lord
Your faithful and
Obt Servt


[To] Viscount Sidmouth.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

26th September 1817: The informers, Blackburn & Burton, leave Nottingham forever, surrounded by an angry crowd

On Friday 26th September 1817, the Luddites turned informers John Blackburn & William Burton left Nottingham for London, their ultimate destination being Canada. The Leicester Chronicle of 4th October 1817 described the scene:
The noted John Blackborne and William Burton, the King's evidences on the trial of the Luddites at Leicester, at the last Lammas Assizes, and the latter of whom was the principal evidence against Daniel Diggle, hanged at Nottingham in April last, were recognised on the Hope coach, in Nottingham on Friday last. A concourse of people collected round the coach to see them, and bestowed some execrations upon them in a liberal manner.―It is understood both they and their wives and families, are gone off for America.
They were escorted by the Nottingham Police Officer, Benjamin Barnes, who carried the letter to the Home Secretary below, written by the Town Clerk, Henry Enfield:
Nottingham Sep. 26. 1817
Mr Lord
The Police Officer, Benjamin Barnes, will deliver this Letter to Your Lordship & inform you of his arrival in Town with Burton & Blackburn, their wives & Children―
I have [etc]
H Enfield
Town Clerk
[To] Rt Hble Lord Sidmouth

Monday, 25 September 2017

25th September 1817: Henry Enfield informs Lord Sidmouth of the arrangements for the informers Blackburn & Burton

Nottingham Sept. 25th 1817.

My Lord,

In consequence of Mr. Lockett’s communication to me of your Lordship’s arrangements relative to Burton and Blackburn and their families (whose several names and ages Mr. Lockett will have stated to you) I have sent for them from their hiding-places; and finding them all in good health and desirous of immediately proceeding to their destination, I shall send them to London by one of the Coaches in the course of to-day or to-morrow under the escort of the Police Officer Benjamin Barnes―

Barnes will attend at your Lordship’s Office to give Information of their arrival, and I will direct him to enquire for Mr. Noble, within whose Department, as I understand from Mr. Lockett, this business falls.―

I have the honor to be
My Lord,
Your Lordship’s hble Servt

H Enfield

I take this opportunity of informing you that the Frameworkknitters are said to dropping in again to work―This is the case I believe with some – but he bulk still remain out – however there is no violence―


[To: Lord Sidmouth]

Friday, 22 September 2017

22nd September 1817: Jeffery Lockett sends a description of the informers Blackburn & Burton to government

Derby September 22d 1817

Dear Sir

William Burton is 21 years of age, and his wife, Leah, also twenty one. They have but one child,―a daughter named Charlotte, only five months old:

John Blackburn is twenty three years of age,―and his wife, Ann Blackburn, only twenty. Their only child is a daughter named Mary, and one year & two months old.―

Both parents and Children are in very good health―and able to perform the journey.

Burton is in the neighbourhood of Nottm.―About a week ago, an attempt was made to assassinate him. He was walking out with his wife and child,―and was met by three men, who looked at him very attentively,―and afterwards shot at him, but he escaped.―When he got home he found two other men at his door,―and hearing one of them say “that is him”―he retreated―& went by another way into the town.

Blackburn is at his fathers at Kettering in Northamptonshire. A messanger is sent for him and he will be in Nottm. tomorrow or on Wednesday.

Mr. Enfield will do what is necessary to prepare them for their journey―and you will have the goodness to write to him on the [illegible]. It is hoped that they may sail on the first of October.

I am very sorry to inform you that a fever has attacked several prisoners in our County Gaol. The [prison] has been overcrowded of late:―The magistrates are making every possible exertion to stops its progress.―It is to be lamented that the order for the removal of the reprieved convicts at our last assizes has not been yet received here. I saw Mr. Justice Holroyd sign the [certificate] on Friday―and Mr. Hilditch assured me that it [should] be sent immediately to the Treasury & the order be applied for.

I am apprehensive that this [illegible] is not within your department, but under the pressing circumstances which I have mentioned I am sure you will excuse me for troubling you with it.

I am Dear Sir
Your most obed Servt

Wm Jeffery Lockett

[To: ‘Noble Esqr’]

Monday, 18 September 2017

18th September 1817: A Leicester Hosier writes to the Home Office about strikes in the trade

Leicest. 18th Sept 1817

My Lord

I hope your Lordship will pardon the liberty I am taking in presuming to address you, but feeling as I do the importance of the system which is at present pursuing in this neighbourhood, and and being fully convinced that if it is allwd to grow to maturity it will require all the strength of the law to allay it, I cannot resists what I conceive to be my duty―making your Lordship acquainted with the proceedings without wasting more of your Lordship’s valuable time I would state to you that about 2 months ago there was an attempt made here to raise the price of labour, and meetings were calld for the formation of that object, and it was finally determin’d to raise the price of making Stockings very considerably, in some instances 50 [illegible] in addition to this there was a rule prescribed by which every article was to be regulated, and no workmen was to make any goods but what was specified in this Statement of course several of the principal Houses objected to this regulation, having to make goods for every climate in the known world, they were obligd to change & alter their good according to the customs & wants of the markets they were intended for, this rais’d a violent Opposition, and our Warehouses were besitt with Stockingmakers for 2 or 3 weeks, at length the magistrates issued a Hand Bill which had the effects of bringing the men a little to their senses, but meetings of Committees were held weekly for the purpose of enforcing the original object, a Central Committee was found and district committees in every Street of the town which communicated with the Central Committee, a regular register was obtaind of every Stocking frame, and who employed it, and if any kind of work was attempted to be made which the Stockingmakers thought improper, a meeting was instantly calld and handbills circulated to prevent such work being made, in this Stage of the Business we thought it right again to request the interference of the Magistrates, and we causd the Chairman & good part of the Central Committee to be brought before them when they were told their conduct was illegal and must be discontinued. They are now pursuing their object in a different way, and are extending all over the Country, a man of the name of Snow, has been sent to Nottingham, to promote the same object, and after a great deal of discussion between the masters & men, they have this week―Struck. The same man has been to Belper, Derby, Sheepshead, Hathern, Loughbro, Shilton & Hinckley for the same purpose, and even as far as Tewksbury in Gloucestershire, your Lordship will naturally enquire how the men are maintain’d without work; there is a subscription amongst the hands in work, and the men unemployed are allowd a certain sum weekly provided they will not [word obscured] agreeable to the prescribed rule, your Lordship will  immediately see the effect of these proceedings it will of necessity be the means of very much cramping the trade and allowing no scope for genius, for if no goods are to be made, but by a given rule, if those goods suit a warm climate, they must necessarily be very improper for a cold one, it is making the hands completely masters of their employers, and if every regulation is attempted to be made, they do not approve, by means of this system, the persons hands are all stoppd, I would be sorry taking any charge against our Magistracy for having fostered & encouraged this kind of conduct, but really such is their predilection for the Stockingers (and the men are all aware of this) that it is next to impossible to maintain any kind of subordination, I hope the late terrible examples has had the effect of subduing the spirit of Luddism, but indeed my Lord we shall have something full as bad―if this organized system is not effectually stopd, I have therefore thought it right the submit to your Lordship this plain statement of facts, in order that you may if you think it necessary direct some steps to be taken which may counteract the effect, I shall be happy to give your Lordship any information in my power, and hoping you will pardon this liberty

I am―My Lord

Your Lordship’s most hble Servant

Jno Rawson

[To Lord Sidmouth]

Thursday, 14 September 2017

14th September 1817: Henry Enfield informs the Home Office that up to 9,000 framework-knitters are on strike in Nottingham

Nottingham 14 Sep. 1817


I had great pleasure in laying before the magistrates yesterday Evening your Letter of the 12r. Instant, for the favour of which they beg to present to Lord Sidmouth their thankful acknowledgments.―

Yesterday, our chief market day, passed over in Tranquility―but the state of things remains precisely the same―no giving way on either side―& the issue is certainly matter of anxious Expectation―

I am desired by the Magistrates to inclose you, for the perusal of Lord Sidmouth, two Advertisements which appeared in the Nottm papers of Friday―The one of the 6r. Instant is deserving of his Lordship’s Attention―His Lordship will observe that there is an ingenious avoidance of the mention of any particular Overseers or parishes―& we are of opinion that the Advertisement is artfully framed by the Stockingmakers Committee to convery abroad the belief that they are actively espoused & upheld by the parishes.―Some of the parishes in the County have by their Conduct given full opportunity to the Frameworkknitters Committees thus to make use of them.―

In the present State of Insubordination, the magistrates beg to state to Lord Sidmouth that the Military force here consists of the 95th. & only one Troop of Cavalry (the 15th.)―The Yeomanry Corps, from the Horses being out at grass, & from the busy state of the Harvest, would not easily or speedily be assembled―If the present Contest break out into Violence, the points of Attack may be dispersed―& if so, the presence of Cavalry can alone be effective―The magistrates of Nottingham state this for the Consideration of Lord Sidmouth, & request that his Lordship will be pleased to give such Directions as he shall think the Circumstances call for.

The persons turned out may, in this neighbourhood, be from 8, to 9000―

I am Dear Sir

Yours very obedy―

H Enfield

[To] H. Hobhouse Esq―

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

13th September 1817: The Secretary for the Colonies authorises Blackburn & Burton's emigration to Canada

Downing Street 13th September 1817.

Mr Lord,

I have had the honor of receiving your Lordship’s letter recommending to my particular Consideration John Blackburn & William Burton who are desirous to become Settlers in His Majesty’s Provinces in North America, and I have in reply to acquaint your Lordship that I shall feel great pleasure in recommending them to the protection of the Governor General Sir John Sherbrooke in order that each of them may receive a Grant of one Hundred Acres of the Crown Reserves in Canada;―that being the most valuable portion of the Lands at the disposal of the Crown, & being therefore, in my opinion best calculated to mark the sense entertained of the merits which have procured for them your Lordship’s recommendation.

I shall further give directions for allowing them Rations during the first twelve months, until some part of the lands allotted to them shall be brought into Cultivation;―altho’ Government have not charged themselves with this expence in any of the recent Emigrations.

As the Season during which Settlers were forwarded to the Province by this Department has long since elapsed, I trust Your Lordship will take the necessary measures for providing messieurs Blackburn & Burton with a Conveyance.

I have [etc]


[To] Viscount Sidmouth
&c &c &c

Monday, 11 September 2017

[11th] September 1817: Henry Enfield writes to the Home Office about striking Frameworkknitters in Nottinghamshire

Nottingham 10r. September 1817.

My Lord

The Magistrates wish me to make a Communication to Your Lordship of the present State of this Town & its neighbourhood.

During the last three days there have been a general Strike, or Turn-out, of the Frameworkknitters for an Advance of Wages―& vast numbers of them have Come into Nottingham from the adjacent Villages & Townships―It is reported that they have in some instances in the County used violence, & in very many instances Threats, to bring out those Frameworkknitters who were reluctant to join them―and, that there are two Committees sitting in Nottingham who are the directors of the present measures & supply the men with money for their immediate support. At present no Violence or actual Branch of the public peace has been Committed―the men walk about in Considerable numbers, & make their frequent Applications to the Hosiers―but the magistrates cannot expect this tranquil demeanour to be of long duration if the object which in view that continue ungained―& they have therefore taken, & will be constantly prepared with means to the utmost of their power for putting down any Commotion―

With respect to the question between the Frameworkknitters & their masters, the magistrates have not any power to interpose―& as Individuals they do not conceive that they have any right to become parties―Their duty is, as they conceive, to watch the public Peace & to preserve it―being ready, nevertheless, at all times to receive Complaints, & to enforce the Laws relating to Combinations &c.―It may happen that each [succeeding] Day will make the men more & more discontented, & the Committees more personal & threatening―this may become so overt as to call for the Interference of the magistracy without a complaint―but should this not occur, the magistrates are of opinion that they should not officially take any active step―They will be happy to receive from Lordship’s Sentiments upon this Subject―

Mr. Aldr. Morley has received the enclosed Letter from Mr. Parker of this Town, a manufacturer of first respectability―The magistrates cannot so satisfactorily dispose of the Letters as by transmitting it in the Dispatch for the Consideration of Your Lordship―

I have [etc]

H Enfield

Town Clerk

P.S. Sep. 11.

I beg to enclose your Lordship a Handbill―This handbill was carried about by the collectors of the Subscriptions to the Frameworkknitters Cause, & a Copy left with the Subscriber―Their collections were (& I believe are) by House-row―


[To] The Right Honble Lord Sidmouth
Secretary of State &c &c &c

Friday, 8 September 2017

8th September 1817: A Nottingham Hosier has fears about FWK Union activity

Nottingham Septem 8th 1817


The very unpleasant circumstance, under which I have lately placd in the conducting my manufactory being solely the result of the unfounded although public representation made by certain parties calling themselves committees of Frameworkknitters―which said publications have, and are intended to have the effect of rendering the workman dissatisfied in every transaction with his employer I feel myself entitled to request your attention to this subject as one which threatens a much more serious wit than that of incommoding the individual―

Presuming that you are well acquainted that the nature of our manufactory is that of considerable permanence in the engagement between master & workman―you will be able to judge how very painful the situation of the employer in being incessantly calld upon to refuse gratifications which the workman is most industriously informd is really his due―

The Magistrate I am well aware is entitled to answer me, that his concern is only with acts which constitute a breach of the Peace―but when I have [stated] the publications to which I request your attentions―I can scarcely permit myself to doubt that you will be satisfied they have a manifest tendency to provoke a renewal of those disorders which have disgraced the whole range of the manufactory & occasioned the destruction of private property and of Life

Doubtless the intentions of many of those parties who so loudly anticipate the enlargement of our commerce, are innocent but it is time that even they should in some way be apprised that every instance where they raise expectations they are morally bound to fulfil them and are not entitled to throw the burthen upon that other party in commercial transactions, whose sacred interests their precipitate exultation has occasioned them to overlook―This remark would be misplaced were it merely sentimental―but its foundation is in fact of notorious publicity―the expected advancement of the wages of Labor―without adverting to any distinctions, being the almost daily theme of many public prints―the avow’d object of the conduct of several public bodies & public men (see advert from Ilkeston in the Nottm Review of 15 Augt last)―Conduct which renders them in my mind parties to a conspiracy for advancing wages and whose alliance & prompting forbids the thought of prosecuting the prominent, but the excited & perhaps misled conspirator

The first publication is dated July 11 & purports to be an intimation that the demand for goods had so encreased at Leicester that, with the exception of two or three houses, an advance of prices had been agreed to―the information had been previously, or was at some time, aroused in the Leicester and Nottingham papers apparently as News by the editor―but more probably by the parties themselves―Now, Sir my information is, that the application of the workman for an advance was suggested to them―nay even urgd upon them by the conduct of the answers of the Parish or Parishes of Leicester―& the FWKrs undertook their committees―(which it was hopd had become dormant at least, if not extinct) that Prices should have a correspondent Rise in Nottingham throughout the County―a point in which upon their failing, the Leciester and Hinckley houses finding themselves imposd upon recalled their advance

The application made to Nottingham is dated July 21st―imprudently alledging the advance at Leicester to be occasiond by extraordinary demand―& asserting the same demand to exist in Notts

The next publication―(is annexed as a supplement &) is dated July 25 in which the Committee announce their failure in terms which evince the bitterness of their disappointment & a determination to communicate resentful feelings to the body of the FWKrs―

Another publication dated 13th August is in the form of a letter to the Hosiers who manufacture Silk Gloves, couched in terms to excite no slight resentment towards the masters who do not comply―asserting a demand for their article which my own concern in this branch enabled me to know did not exist―or but partially as some demand always will―

The advertisements in the Nottm Review of 15th Augt―standing alone might leave it doubtful whether the FWKrs excite the vestry―or the vestry excite the FWKrs

Again under date 21st Augt, and after the Leicester houses recalled their advance―the Cotton workmen of Notts are required to exert themselves to secure the objects of the Committee

All these efforts failing―a Bill of advanced Rates of the Committees own forming―was delivered on the 29 Augt―with the usual breadth of assertion as to the consent of the masters except a few, who are hereby stigmatisd as oppressive & unjust

An advertisement in the Nottm Papers of Septem 6―shows clearly that these men have been generally repulsd by their employers―against whom they hope the getting of the harvest―the countenance of the Nobility Gentry Clergy & Overseers throughout the County―will support them in a general strike for advance of Wages & enable them to enforce their Bill of Rates

These circumstances exhibit such compleat evidence that the organisation of these Committees, from which individuals & the country at large have sufferd such serious injury & alarm―& in which principles destructive of all harmony between master & workman are inculcated―exist in full activity―that I cannot but persuade myself you will concur with me in opinion that the powers of the magistracy would be well employd in destroying such mischievous combinations

Whether the trade do or do not adopt the Bill of Rates thus impudently tendered―& violently enforcd―the reluctance of the employers has been sufficiently evinced―& for the committees to succeed in this mode can only tend to encrease their personal audacity & their mischievous influence over an extended population―

Other offensive matters, which have not appeared in print, are through the vigilance of your police, perhaps, better known to you than to me―I shall therefore leave them to such weight as you may judge them worthy of―& I am Sire your most obedt Servt

John Parker

[To: L Morley Esqr]