Friday, 31 March 2017

31st March 1817: The trial of the Luddite John Clarke (aka 'Little Sam') at Leicester Assizes

LEICESTER.

Trial of JOHN CLARKE, otherwise LITTLE SAM, FOR SHOOTING AT JOHN ASHER.

MONDAY, MARCH 31, 1817.

This morning, at eight o'clock, the Hon. Sir Richard Richards, Knight, took his seat on the Bench. The Court was immensely crowded, and vast anxiety was evinced to obtain situations in the Hall.

Thomas Savage, William Withers, John Amos, John Crowder, Joshua Mitchell, Samuel Caldwell, James Watson, John Clarke were put to the bar, and arraigned on a charge of having, on the night of the 28th of June last, feloniously and maliciously shot that John Asher, with intent to kill and murder him. Another count charged them with aiding and abetting in shooting at John Asher, &c.

After twelve of the pannel had answered to their names, they were challenged on the part of the prisoners; and then another twelve, and so on, so that it was found impracticable to obtain a jury from the pannel, to try them altogether. A proposition was made to make up a Jury from by-standers in Court, but this was objected on the part of the Crown, and all but John Clarke were removed from the bar. An attempt was then made to obtain a Jury from the pannel, but as the Crown challenged some, the Counsel on behalf of Clarke, others, and some did not attend, only six could be found, and the residue were selected from by-standers in the Court. The whole number of challenges on behalf of the prisoner had been expended when nine jury-men were in the box. An hour and a half was occupied in this uninteresting business, and it was not till half past nine, that the Gentlemen of the Jury were sworn. Their names are as follows:—

John Leadbetter,
St. John Kirk,
John Lee,
John Chamberlain,
Humphrey Cartwright,
Thomas Ward,
Thomas ______
Joseph Dumelow,
William Robinson,
George Simpkin,
John Fowkes,
John Measures.

Serjeant Vaughan, in a very animated speech, stated the case to the Court and the Jury, and detailed to them the leading features of the evidence which would be produced.

A very neat model of the building, with some of the inside parts thereof, was exhibited upon the table.

John Boden, the first witness called, was examined by Serjeant Copley. In June last, he was partner with Mr. Heathcoat, in a lace manufactory at Loughborough. In the early part of that month he was not at Loughborough, but came there on the 25th. The model on the table was a correct representation of the building where the manufacture was carried on. There were no less than fifty-five frames or machines in the place, finished and unfinished—twenty-three on the first floor, and thirty in the top story. The concern was at full work when he came to Loughborough on the 25th of June, and there had been an additional guard placed over the premises about two days before, in consequence of some unpleasant things which had come to their knowledge. They had always had one guard, John Ironman, who acted as watchman, but this had been increased to six regular guards, and some men were kept at work in the night. On Friday the 28th June, he had been in the factory, and left it about 11 in the evening; at that time, there were six regular guards, including Ironman, besides the men who were at work in the lace frames up stairs. The six guards were in the casting shop, which is a laying-to to the factory, and has an interior communication with the main building; one door leads to the setting-up room, and another into the street. The ground floor of the factory is called the setting-up shop; the laying-to is the casting shop; the first floor is called the lace shop, and the second floor the top shop; these two contained the machines. He left all safe that night, and did not return again to the factory till about five in the morning; he had been sending off to inform the Nottingham police-officers. When witness got to the factory, he found the frames broken, some entirely and some partially; they appeared to have been demolished by hammers and hatchets; some of the beams were cut—some of the lace on the frames was also cut; the whole of the lace on the machines was destroyed, some had been cut and some burnt, the windows were also broken, apparently with stones thrown from outside. John Asher, one of the workmen on guard that night, was wounded, witness saw him at his own (Asher’s) house that day, and found he had been shot at the back of his head, but the ball was then extracted.

John Asher (examined by Mr. Reader) deposed, that he was in the service of Messrs. Heathcoat and Boden on the 28th of June last, he was one of those who sat up as a watchman, along with Thomas Ironman, and John Webster; there were six appointed to watch, these three, and _____ Sylvester, John Barker, Thomas German, but the last three went out; they had three pistols and one or two guns, is not sure which; they sat in the casting shop, and had a good fire—about a quarter past twelve he heard a noise, as though two men were coming up the passage, the dog barked, and a pistol was fired. He saw three or four men come up to the casting-shop door with pistols, but one had an axe; he put his hand behind and laid hold of a pistol on the shelf, which he presented to the man and attempted to fire, but as it was not cocked it did not go off, several of the men presented their pistols at him immediately, and he turned his head aside, somebody then rushed into the shop, and shot him at the back of his head. He fell down and was insensible for a time, but when he came to himself, he found himself under the workbench, with Ironman and Webster, down beside of him, and two men stood over them with pistols, who threatened if they stirred, or offered to talk, to blow their brains out; they lay with their faces towards the ground, being desired to do so by the men over them. While he lay on the ground, he heard a great noise, as if the machines were breaking, he also heard loud swearing; some called out, "Ned, do your duty," others shouted, "Well done, Ned;" this was said, while, as he imagined, the men were breaking the frames; when he had lain about a quarter of an hour, bleeding very fast all the time, and afraid of bleeding to death, he requested that he might be permitted to go out, or else that they would fetch a doctor to him; to this request no answer was made. A man came into the yard soon after, and said, "How is that man that’s wounded?" but nobody answered him: the man then turning to witness said, How are you? I said I was very bad; he replied, can you do a bit longer? I told him I thought I could if they would make haste: the man said they would not be long—The noise of breaking the machines went on all the time. In about five minutes after, they all left the factory. When they were going out, one said he would shake hands with the wounded man, Webster put out his hand, but they said that was not the man. Mr. Palmer the surgeon was then sent for, and he was taken home.

The witness was cross-examined by Mr. Balguy at some length, but no material variation on on the matter was elicited.

Thomas Palmer, (examined by Mr. Reynolds,) was a surgeon at Loughborough, and was called up about twenty minutes past one on the morning of the 29th of June last; he reached the casting shop about half-past one; he found John Asher lying on his back in the centre of the casting shop, with a coat doubled up, and placed under his head as a pillow; he was faint, insensible, and bleeding, with a wound on the back part of his head, inclining to the right side, made by a ball or slug fired from some instrument. Witness ordered him to be carried home, and when he was put to bed, examined the wound more particularly, when he found that a ball or slug was lodged in the right side of his head. He extracted the ball at the time, and produced it at the last Assizes, but left it in Court, and had never seen it since. Asher was ill five weeks.

On his cross examination (by Mr. Denman,) Mr. P. stated, that the ball or slug passed between the cranium and the scalp, from the back part of the head to the right side. It had gone around, instead of penetrating.

John Blackborne, an accomplice, (examined by Serjeant Vaughan,) deposed, that he lived at Lambley, six miles from Nottingham, in the month of June last. He knew the prisoner at the bar about three weeks before the breaking of Messrs. Heathcoat and Boden’s machines at Loughbro’; the first time he had any concern with him was at the Radford job, about three weeks before the Loughbro’ job happened. Clarke generally went by the name of Little Sam. Witness saw him in company with William Withers about a week before the Loughbro’ job, and told him that Withers wanted the witness and two more men for a job. The prisoner asked where it was, and Withers told him at Loughborough, he had 18l. down then to buy tools or pistols with, for the purpose of attacking Heathcoat and Boden’s factory, and that 40l more was to be paid as soon as the work was done, 60l would be collected after, and distributed amongst the men engaged; the business was to be done on the Friday after the next Friday. Prisoner told him he would not go till he was paid for the Radford job, and witness also said that neither he nor the other chaps would go till then. Withers then assured them they should be paid for the Radford job before that day; he would settle with them himself. On a doubt being expressed as to the possibility of the execution of the enterprise, Withers told them there was only one sentry, and some were to scale the walls and seize him, while the others were breaking in in different places. Sam (the prisoner) then agreed to go when he was paid for the Radford job, and Withers said he would pay witness, who would then pay him. It was arranged that they were not to leave Lambley till the day on which the job was to happen at night. There was talk of Aaron Daykin going with them, but witness did not agree to it. Withers told him that Savage, Jack Disney, Little Sam, Slater, and most of the old Neds were to be of the party. By old Neds he understood, persons who had been out framebreaking before. It was agreed that he was to see Withers again at Mr. Scattergood’s, the Goats Head, in the Meadow plats, Nottingham, on Saturday, after he had taken in his work,—and was there to receive the money due to him, Little Sam, Big Sam, and Aaron Daykin, for the Radford job. He accordingly went to the Goat’s Head, and met Withers there, who gave him twenty-three shillings for himself, and the other three. He saw the prisoner in Big Sam's (Caldwell's) house on Sunday morning, when witness paid him five shillings, and they agreed to take a walk together after dinner. Big Sam lived with Long Bill, whose real name is Tom Woodward, but who went by the name of Wing—Woodward and his wife, who was called Mrs. Wing, lived on the ground-floor, and Caldwell or Big Sam, in the room above. When walking together after dinner in Lovatt’s close, Big Sam and Aaron Daykin joined them, the prisoner said, Jack, (Blackborne) Big Sam says he'll go. Big Sam immediately said, Damn your eyes, I’ll go, and Aaron Daykin said he’d go. Witness had been ordered to bring two besides himself to Nottingham, but this made three, however after some consideration, he determined to take the three with him. They directly proceeded to Nottingham, first to the sign of Sir Thomas White, the Burgess’s friend, and afterwards to Mr. Seymour is, at the Horse and Chaise, in Millstone-lane. They got to the latter place about five o'clock, and saw there in the course of the evening, Jack Slater, Benjamin Badder, and several persons he knew. Slater said to witness, Jack, there’ll be a fine crash this week; he answered he had heard so, but had come over to learn the particulars. Slater asked whether them three chaps (meaning, Little Sam, Big Sam, and Aaron Daykin) were come over to be at the job with  us; he told him they were, and Slater enquired if they would stand. Witness said yes they would, and Slater replied they are nice-looking chaps, have they ever been out before; he said yes, and Slater answered, that will do. Witness, prisoner, Big Sam, and Aaron Daykin slept at the Horse and Chaise that night, he in one bed, with Tom Seymour, the son of the landlord; the other three in another bed, in the same room. On Monday morning, they all set off to go to Savidges’s house, they stopped at the top of the street, but knew what he was going for; he went to learn at what time they were to go from Lambley to Loughborough, and also to ask for some money, as they had been living on their own up to that time; Savidge not being at home, they all went back again to Seymour's. Witness soon after went to his brother at Radford, and thence, along with Big Sam, to Lambley; they set off about eleven o'clock. He did not stay more than an hour in Lambley, and in the afternoon, by appointment, he, along with Big Sam, went to the King’s Head, Narrow marsh, Nottingham, where were sitting the prisoner and Aaron Daykin. Soon after, witness and Big Sam went out, but Big Sam returned, and witness found his brother, (Christopher Blackborne); his brother and himself went towards Savidge’s house, and met Withers, Savidge joined them, and they all went to the Milton's Head, in Parliament-street. The prisoner went part of the road, but never went to the Milton’s Head, witness told him he was going to Savidge’s for money, and he returned. When at this public-house, he received one pound from Savidge, which was for himself, Big Sam, Little Sam, and Aaron Daykin, to support themselves with till Wednesday. Savidge told him they had better be in the lower part of the town, to prevent suspicion, two in one house, and two in another; however they all slept at the Kings Head that night. The money was shared amongst them equally. After breakfast on Tuesday morning, they went from the Kings head, and started across the Meadows, along the Trent side, till they came to Beeston. It had been agreed they should sleep at two different places, and two of them went to the Durham Ox, the other two went to the New Inn, but as the people in the house seemed very cross, they left that place, and joined their Companions at the Durham Ox, where all four, that is Blackborne (the witness), Big Sam, Little Sam (the prisoner at the bar), and Aaron Daykin, supped and slept that night.—For supper they had beef stakes and cabbage; the stakes were bought at a butcher’s shop, Little Sam carried them home, and the servant lass cooked them. The next morning, (Wednesday,) witness and the prisoner set off by themselves, they went through Bramcote, and thence to Lord Middleton's park side, at the end of which, Savidge had promised to come or send to them, with more money. They went on till they came to the Rose and Crown in Lenton, where they went in, and as they sat there, saw Witness with his brother C. Blackborne, passing the window, he rapped, and they came in; after taking some refreshment, they all went back again, and when they had crossed the cut (canal) about 200 yards, Withers took out a pistol, and fired it off, saying he did so to try it. When they got under a tree by Lord Middleton’s wall, either Withers, or witness’s brother, he cannot say which, gave them a pound or guinea note, which was to be divided among the four. They also directed him to be at Loughborough the next day, where he was to meet Savidge, either at the Pack-horse, or the Duke of York; Aaron Daykin was to go to Sheepshead for Jack Disney, sometimes called Sheepshead Jack; Sheepshead is two or three miles out of the way, between Beeston and Loughborough. The prisoner and Big Sam were to go the next day to meet two men with three hatchet heads in a bag, which they were to get stailed somewhere on the road. Little Sam went to Nottingham, but came back that night, and joined the other three at the Durham Ox, where they all supped and slept on Wednesday night; they were waited on at supper by the same lass. On Thursday morning they all went out together, Big Sam and Little Sam turned back again; witness and Daykin went on to Hathern turn, where they parted, Daykin for Sheepshead, and witness for Loughbro’, he arrived at the Pack Horse, about three in the afternoon, where he found Savidge and some market folks; he had been desired to take no notice, but drink a cup of ale and go out, as a signal; he did so, and Savidge came out directly, and they went on the road to meet Daykin and Disney, at Tyler’s, the White Lion. The prisoner had desired him to tell Savidge that he wanted more money, he did so, and Savidge gave him 6 or 7s; he went and gave Big Sam and Little Sam the money at Hathern turn. Witness slept in a cart that night. The next day, by Savidge’s desire, he went to Hathern turn, to tell the prisoner and Big Sam not to bring the hatchets into Loughborough till it was dark; he saw there Big Sam, Little Sam, Daykin, and Disney, and he delivered his message, they told him they were not likely to bring them, for they had not money to release them; they shewed him where the hatchets were at a wheelwright’s, the man was working at the handles, and shaving them up. He left with them about watching one shilling in halfpence, which they said would do for them to drink till he came back with the money for the hatchets, and he returned towards Loughborough; witness had not proceeded far before he met Jack Amos and Savidge, they were coming to meet him on the road; he told Savidge that money was wanted to pay for the handles of the hatchets, and he gave him a three shilling piece to take to the men for that purpose, and six shillings more for the suppers of himself and Big Sam, Little Sam, Disney, and Daykin, and also give directions that when they went into Loughborough they should go separately, two to one house and three to another, and by no means bring the hatchets into the town before it was dark; witness and Big Sam were to go to Tyler’s, and prisoner, Daykin, and Disney to the Green Man. He accordingly went to give these directions to the men, but being tied, when he had walked part of the way, he lay down, and in about half an hour, they came up to him; as it was not dark, the hatchets were put in a dry sough in the lane; part of the them went to Tyler’s and part of the Green Man as directed; while witness, along with Big Sam, was at the former place, Savidge came in, and asked Mrs Tyler for a quart of rum, which she let him have, he paid for it and the bottle; Savidge then drank a glass of ale, the preconcerted signal for them to go out, for he was not to talk to them; they were just going to get their suppers, he however went out directly, the other did not follow of a quarter of an hour.—Bill Towle met witness in  the street, and told him they were to go together to fetch the hatchets from the sough; about eleven o'clock they started for that purpose, and in half an hour came back into Ashby-lane, about fifty yards from the turnpike  and two or three hundred yards from the factory.—The whole party were then assembled; he saw Bill Towle, Bill Burton, James Watson, Big Sam, Little Sam, Aaron Daykin, Sheepshead Jack, witness, his brother C. Blackborne, Savidge, Amos, Old Crowder, Jos Mitchell, Jack Hill, Slater, an Withers, and soon after saw Jem Towle, making seventeen in all. Savidge had got the quart of rum, Withers produced some fire-arms (pistols), but cannot say how many, Withers said they were all loaded, he had tried them before, and they had no need to try them again. The prisoner had a pistol given him. They began to disguise themselves, some put handkerchiefs over their faces, some tied them up to their noses, others over their heads; some changed clothes with each other, Jos. (Mitchell) had his coat turned inside out. Savidge produced the bottle of rum, and they all drank round, out of the bottle. They all saw the factory in the lane, and a good deal of conversation took place respecting the attack; some said it was a dead drop, they should get half killed before they got in. Slater, Bill Towle and Burton, carried the hatchets. They stood hesitating some time how to begin the attack, when witness said to them, damn it, will you stay here all night? some one replied, will you go first? he said he did not care, he’d show them the place. They all set off, he leading the way, but directly two or three of them ran past him, and seized a man who was going towards the factory, they put their pistols to his head, and threatened him with instant death if he did not let them in without giving any alarm, or attempting any resistance, the man knocked at the door, it flew open; a dog began to bark, and Bill Towle chopped at it with his hatchet, but missed it, the hatchet flew out of his hand. Jem Towle then shot it, and it barked no more; it was a great large dog. The cry was, brush forward lads, and he saw his brother and Watson in the casting shop; he went in and saw three men sitting on stools, they were ordered to lie down, instead of so doing, one of them took a pistol off the shelf, and aimed it at his brother Christopher Blackborne, witness immediately rushed by and fired at the man, and then ran out again, he saw the man fall before he ran out, the others then lay down under a bench, and a guard was set over them. The prisoner was fixed sentinel over a man at the door, but cannot how near prisoner was to witness when he (witness) fired the pistol; knows he came into the yard before the man was shot. Soon after he saw the prisoner in the setting-up shop, standing sentry over a man. Witness was placed as a guard walking the casting-shop to the Malt-Mill lane. Witness had his brother’s pistol, his brother was without one. The pistols were brought at Derby, by Savidge and Withers. Witness did not go up stairs; in about a quarter of an hour after he had been placed as a guard, he heard a cry of more hands wanted, Little Sam (the prisoner Clarke) told him to go up stairs; he did so, and went into the first floor, where he saw Slater, Bill Towle and several others, breaking the frames.―The prisoner at that time was sentinel over one of the factory men near the outer door in the setting-up shop. Savidge staid on guard in Malt-Mill-lane, where he had a woman in his care and custody; he heard a firing of one pistol on the outside, that against Malt-Mill-lane, where Savidge was. After the work was done, the pistols were fired off, some fired several times, it was customary to do so on such occasions; they also called their numbers over, and though only seventeen were there, they counted as high as about ninety, this was done in order to make folks believe there were more engaged in the business than there were in reality. They went away by the Ashby road again. Before they left the place, Big Sam told Slater, who had a hatchet, to hit a desk which was in the shop against the war, Slater hit it twice, and Big Sam took away two pistols which were in it. He saw Big Sam with a gun; Jos Mitchell had a musket in his hand. When they went away, they went by Garrendon park side; they all went together as far as the Trent, except Disney, who parted with them when they had gone about five miles. They brought the hatchets and pistols away with them, and Big Sam brought the musket and bayonet away. When they got to Zouch bridge, witness’s brother gave big Sam a pistol, and he then agreed to throw the musket into the cut; he did so; they then went on towards Ratcliffe, where they saw a man at a plough; it was getting daylight; they were straggling, though all in the same close, he did not see any body go up to the man. They went to the Trent side, and saw a boat, into which they got, but it could not take them over; they then got out, and went to Aram’s ferry, the boat was on their side and eleven or twelve got into it first and were taken over, the others were behind; four more came over in the boat after; Slater was in the first boat, and had a hatchet with him, almost all of them had pistols; Mitchell had his coat turned, and almost all had their faces covered. In the second boat, when the four came over, there were another hatchet; witness had flung the third into the Trent. Two men were on the other side of the river at the time they first came up. Savidge paid for the ferrying over of the whole; he gave the man one shilling first, but as the chap rather grumbled, he gave him more. When they had got across the Trent they undisguised themselves. They then separated, and witness went with Big Sam, Little Sam, and Aaron Daykin to Beeston, intending to go to the Durham Ox. Big Sam and Daykin went together before Little Sam and witness; as the windows of the house were not open, Big Sam and Daykin did not stop, but just as witness and prisoner came up, the girl was opening the windows, they two went in, and calling for a cup of ale, lay down on the settle and slept a bit. The lass said she thought they had been up all night. Witness and Clarke walked together as far as the Strugglers in Lenton, but Clarke was so knocked up he was obliged to leave him in the garden. Before they had got into the boat, Savidge had told them all to meet him at the Fox, in New Sneinton, at ten o'clock, when he would give them money. Witness went, and Little Sam (the prisoner at the bar), came in soon after.―Savidge gave witness two pound, and told him to give ten shillings a piece to Big and Little Sam and Daykin, he did so, and there was ten shillings left for himself. Witness saw Clarke the next day (Sunday) at Long Bills house.

Cross-examined by Mr. Balguy.―The party mustered in Ashby-lane about half-past eleven; there was a little pause, and it was he who moved on to lead them the way. Watson and witness’s brother were first in the casting-shop; witness was the third man, and all the others were behind; they were all on the premises, within the gate. Directly as he got into the casting-shop he saw a pistol presented to his brother; witness was alarmed for his safety and fired; it was done on the spur of the moment, it was the result of a sudden impulse to protect his brother. The next time he saw the prisoner was when on guard at the setting-up shop; this was the first time that he saw him after they all left the lane; it was two or three minutes after the pistol was fired. The door of the setting-up shop opens to the yard near a pool of water. Witness first saw the prisoner on the premises when he was at that door opposite the pool of water, he stood sentry over a lad in the inside. Witness was taken up on the 3d of January for poaching; that was all he went for, but he was also charged with firing into Cook’s house; he was then armed with a sword but not a pistol. He was taken in the fact. He knows Burton; was taken up a fortnight or three weeks after Burton; it was on being taken on a charge of firing at Cook’s house that he told, as he told the story for the purpose of saving his neck, for he knew he was taken on a charge that would hang him. Witness told before Burton did; it was a week or a fortnight after he was taken; he told directly of Lord Middleton's concern, but not of this till a week or fortnight after. It was his brother who walked before Cook’s door with a drawn sword; witness had had a gun, but he changing it with his brother for the sword. He began with the gun and ended with the sword. Witness never discharged the gun at all, and that he will swear.

William Burton, the other accomplice, (examined by Mr. Clarke) was at Loughborough on the 28th of June last, and knows Heathcoat and Boden’s factory. He was in a lane near there about twelve o’clock on that night, and many persons were with him; he had been in the lane about an hour before the hatchets were brought. There were present, himself, James Towle, William Towle, the prisoner Clarke orLittle

Sam, Big Sam, Jack Disney, Aaron Daykin, William Withers, J. Blackborne, C. Blackborne, Jos Mitchell, John Hill, Thomas Savidge, John Crowther, Amos, Watson, and Slater. They disguised themselves different ways, some turned their coats, some changed their cloaths, others put handkerchiefs about their heads and faces; they were armed with pistols and hatchets; witness had a hatchet. Savidge produced some rum, of which they all partook, it was handed round in a bottle out of which they drank. They were to attack the factory in three different places, the pistol men were to go first, the hatchets next, and those who had nothing were to be last. They advanced and saw a man, Christopher Blackborne laid hold of him, and threatened him with instant death if he did not take them into the factory without creating any alarm. A large dog barked as soon as they entered the yard; Bill Towle struck at him with his hatchet, but he missed  and the hatchet flew out of his hand; witness was going to chop at him, but Jem Towle pushed him away and shot the dog. He saw Slater at the door of the factory, within a yard of the casting-house door, he was threatening to knowck a man down with his axe,  if he did not go in; the man had not come out of the casting-shop, and instantly went back again. They were all within four or five 5 yards of the door when the pistol was fired. Witness went through the casting-shop to the setting-up shop, where he saw a boy, of whom he enquired how many men were up stairs; the boy said he would tell him their names, witness said he did not want their names, and at last lost the boy said there might be eleven or twelve. The lad was ordered to lie down, and the prisoner was set over him as a watch, with a pistol in his hand. Witness had not observed the prisoner do any thing before that. He (Burton) went up stairs into the first shop, where he broke some frames. After all was done the men came out of the factory. The whole did not last above forty minutes. Slater broke a desk open with his hatchet, at the desire of Big Sam, who took out two pistols and a powder flask. When they had done, they went into the turnpike-road, and numbers were called up to one hundred or thereabouts, to give the idea of greater strength than they really possessed. There were only seventeen present. Big Sam had a musket with a bayonet on it, which he took out of the factory. They directed their course through through the turnpike-gate, and along the side of a gentleman’s park. When they got to the Zouch bridge witness threw a hatchet into the river on the left hand side, and Big Sam threw the musket in on the right, but not the bayonet. They all went on together, till they came to the Trent, except Sheepshead Jack, (Disney) who had turned off for Sheepshead. They got into a boat in the river, but when about half way across the Trent, they were stopped by a wear, and Slater and another got out to set the boat at liberty that they might get back again. They landed on the same side of the Trent, and Big Sam produced the powder flask, which witness saw; it had a man with a gun and a dog painted on it, Big Sam said he had it out of the desk which Slater broke open. When they got to Aram’s ferry, twelve went over first and four after. They had the same disguises on as they had when they attacked the factory. Slater carried at hatchet in the first boat, and the other four who came after, had a hatchet with them. Savidge paid the ferryman for them all, one shilling in silver first, but as this did not satisfy him, he gave him fourpence in copper. When they had got over they altered their dresses. Slater had had Big Sam's smock-frock on. They separated then, and witness and Watson went home together.

Cross-examined by Mr. Denman—Witness came to Leicester Gaol before Blackborne did. He did not confess a word about the Loughborough job till he was charged with shooting at Kerry; he did not shoot at Kerry, though he was at Kerry's house with Diggle when Diggle shot at him. Was never charged with firing at Needham, of Lambley. It was witness who proposed going back to Kerry's house to break the frames, after he had been shot and left for dead. He thought if he told this story about the Loughborough job it might do him some good; it might keep his neck from the halter. He was sure he was present in the factory when the frames were broken.

Re-examined.—Witness did not know the story that Blackborne had told, for Blackborne was at Nottingham at the time when witness confessed.

Ann Woodward (examined by Mr. Copley) sometimes goes by the name of Wing; lived at Lambley in June last, and Caldwell (or Big Sam) lived in same house; she lived in the lower room, Caldwell above. Witness knew John Blackborne and Aaron Daykin, and saw them frequently together in the month of June last. On the Sunday before the frames were broken, the prisoner and Blackborne came there; Aaron Daykin joined them soon after. About one o'clock, after dinner, they went out together with Caldwell, and said they were going to Sutton and to Mansfield, but Caldwell did not come home that night. He came, however, between one and two in the afternoon of Monday, put on a clean shirt and handkerchief, staid about half an hour, and then went out again; he did not return that night, nor till the Saturday following, the day she heard the frames were broken. She had not seen either J. Blackborne, Daykin, nor Little Sam, in the mean time. Aaron Daykin came first, between five and six o'clock on the Saturday afternoon, and in about half an hour, Little Sam and Caldwell came; they all seemed very tired and foot sore. She saw J. Blackborne on Sunday at the public-house.

Thomas Seymour (examined by Mr. Reader,) deposed, that his brother kept the Horse and Chaise public-house, in Nottingham. He remembers John Blackborne coming there on a Sunday, but cannot say how long that was before the factory of Messrs. Heathcoat and Boden was demolished. Blackborne slept in the same bed as the witness, and three other men slept in another bed in the same room. He cannot say that such a circumstance ever occurred before.

Ann Blatherwick (by Mr. Reynolds) kept the Durham Ox public house in Beeston, in June last, and remembers that two persons came together, three days before the framebreaking at Loughborough, to her house; two more of them on the same day, and they all seemed well acquainted with each other. They supped on beef-steaks and cabbage, and slept there. John Blackborne was one of the four men, and she pointed out the prisoner as another of them.

Cross-examined—Witness never saw the prisoner before that night to her knowledge; she had seen him in prison, and knew him there; cannot say what she had to supper this day fortnight, though she remembers that in June last, these men had beef-steaks and cabbage.

Mary Sanson (examined by Serjeant Vaughan) lives at Oxton, but she lived at the Durham Ox, in Beeston, in June last. She well remembers that two persons came together into the house and asked if they could have a bed, on the Monday or Tuesday night before the frames were broken at Loughborough; two more soon came in, and they all slept there that might, they went away the next morning, and returned between six and seven in the evening; three came first and one after with some beef-steaks, which she cooked, and they all partook of them, they slept there that night, and went out the next morning. Is not certain whether they staid there two or three nights. On Saturday morning, when she was getting up, she saw two men pass by, and opened her window to look after them, and thought they were two of the four men who had slept there the night or two before; she turned her head, and saw the other two coming up against the wall; when she went down and was opening the shutters, the last two went into the house, they called for a cup of ale, which she let them have, and they lay down on the settle by the fire, and went to sleep; they appeared very fatigued. In about an hour, she wanted to scour down the settle, and she awoke them telling them she thought they had not been in bed that night, but they said they had; soon after that they went away. While they were asleep, Barnes, the constable, of Nottingham, came up to the door on horseback, and inquired for something to drink. The learned Sergeant asked witness to point out the man who was with Blackborne, for she knew Blackborne at the time. After some hesitation, she pointed to the prisoner; she thought that was him, but if it were, he was very much altered. After looking at him a little longer, she declared herself satisfied that it was the same man; was confident of it.

Cross-examined by Mr. Balguy—Witness had looked more at the prisoner and was confident that was the same man. She did not know whether she was going to be married to man of the name of Green or not. Does not know whether she will have any reward or not. When she appeared before in Court, she had her expenses paid; Mr. Enfield paid her for two days, and she expected to be paid for her time and expenses this time.

John Hanford (examined by Mr. Clarke) lives at Hathern, two miles and a half from Loughborough, on the road leading to Derby; he had three hatchets heads brought him in a bag to put stails into; but when they were brought he cannot tell; this he will swear; does not know whether it was before or after the frames broken at Loughborough; thinks it is about three quarters of a year ago, but cannot tell when. One man brought them. They were strong hatchets, such as were used for felling timber. Recollects asking the man whether he was going to a fall of timber, but the man gave an evasive answer. He was desired to put long long stalls in, and of a proportionate strength. Cannot say how long they were left at his house, it might be three or four hours; thinks he charged two shillings for each of them. Does not recollect putting stails into three such hatchets all at the same time, either before or since. By trade he is a plough-maker.

Jane Tyler (examined by Serjeant Copley,) stated, that her husband keeps the White Lion at Loughborough. J. Blackborne, along with another man came there, and brought some steaks to be cooked on the Friday evening that the attack was made on Heathcoat and Boden’s factory.—Another person came in, and asked for a bottle of rum, he had no bottle, she found him one, and he paid both for the rum and the bottle. He said he wanted to take the rum some miles out of town. When this man went out, Blackborne followed him. This was on the Friday night.

On her cross-examination, (by Mr Balguy,) she said she did not know Blackborne's name then; she had been taken to the gaol, where she saw him, and was told that his named was Blackborne.

Charles Young keep the Green Man at Loughborough. On the evening previous to the breaking of Heathcoat’s machines, two men came into his house between nine and ten o'clock; soon after a third man came in who joined their company. All three went out together—The prisoner was pointed out to him in Court, but he would not undertake to say that he was one of the men.

Isaac Beeby keeps the Pack Horse public-house at Loughborough. On the night previous to the robbery, Savidge and Blackborne came into his house and staid two hours.

John North deposed, that he was employed at the factory at the time the frames were broken; he was a lace-hand, and was appointed to be one of those who staid all night at work for the defence of the building. He had been to get his supper, and when he was returning, and had got to the end of the factory, he heard a noise of footsteps, he expected it was some of the factory men; but they laid hold of him; he asked what was their meaning, and they clapped a pistol to his head, threatening to blow his brains out if you do not lead them the way without giving any alarm.

William Walton lives at Zouch Mills. On the 23d of Aug. last, he was mowing some weeds in the river Soar, and found a musket on the right hand side of the bridge. He gave it to Thomas Foreman. It had no bayonet on at the time. It was loaded four fingers deep.

Thomas Foreman is a smith at Zouch mills. The musket was given to him on the 22d August by last witness. He examined and found it was loaded with two bullets, but the powder was decayed. This witness produced the musket.

Benjamin Sylvester was in the service of Messrs Heathcoat and Boden, at the time of the demolition of their factory at Loughborough. He was foreman of the guard, and loaded the musket produced by the last witness, on the 28th of June, with two small musket balls. This gun had a bayonet on, and was taken from the setting-up shop. A desk in which kept his books and other things, was quite smashed to pieces, and two pistols and powder flask were taken out. The powder flask was painted with a man and dog and gun on round side.

Joseph Shepherd is a labourer and lives at Beeston. About a quarter before five o'clock on the Saturday morning, the same day that he heard of the frames being broken, he was at Aram's boat, and saw thirteen or fourteen men go over; they were disguised, some having their coats turned, and some their handkerchiefs tied about their faces. Four more went over afterwards, and one man in the first boat paid for all. In the first boat he saw one man with a large axe, and another axe was in the last boat. He also saw the butt end of a pistol.

Charles Godfrey Mundy, Esq. who sat on the bench, near to the Judge, was sworn. He is a magistrate; John Blackborne had made a confession of the transaction, which had been reduced to writing, and on the prisoner being taken, Mr Mundy read over the deposition of Blackborne; when he had finished, prisoner burst into tears, and said it was all true, and afterwards the prisoner voluntarily signed it. This was done without any promise being made to him, or any inducement being held out by Mr. M.

Mr. Balguy wished the constable to be called, who took the prisoner to the magistrate, to ask whether the constable had not told him it would be better to confess; but this was over-ruled.

The information or deposition of John Blackborne, was put in, and read over. It was a very long document, but the substance of it is contained in Blackborne’s evidence as given above. It had the mark of the prisoner affixed to a declaration made by him that it was all true as far as he knew.

Mr. Balguy took a legal objection, which was decidedly over-ruled by the learned Judge.

No evidence was called on the part of the prisoner, either to facts or to character; and which was a very remarkable circumstance, we believe the prisoner was never called upon for his defence. This we conceive, was owing to the great attention paid by his Lordship to the arguments of the learned counsel on the objection which had been taken; and we are quite convinced that it was not an intentional omission, but an oversight. We have heard the omission remarked, and this induces us to offer our opinion of the cause thereof.

His Lordship proceeded to sum up the evidence, which he did with the utmost impartiality and clearness; particularly impressing upon the minds of the Jury, the jealousy with which they should receive the evidence of accomplices, unless confirmed by unexceptionable witnesses. In about three minutes, a verdict of guilty was returned.

This was nearly six o'clock, and the Court adjourned to the next morning.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

30th March 1817: A suspected Luddite, James Crofts, writes to his family from the condemned cell at Leicester

Leicester County Gaol March 30th 1817

Dear Father and Mother Brothers and Sisters it is with Sincere regret that I write you out of so dismal a place as I am now in, Bound with Fetters and under Sentance of Death and do not expect to be reprieved in this world,, Dear Father and Mother I know your Feelings towards me is very great, but I hope Dear Father you will make all the Friends you can for me and Petition to save my Life which is now Forfeited—Dear Father and mother I have but little hope but I hope dr Father you will not fail in trying what you can do for me and that Imediately so no time must be lost I do not know [obscured] you to unless you get the Farmers of your [obscured] Sir Robert Clifton and Mr Lansley and Mr Thorpe of Clifton and I hope my Sister will get a few Friends in Nottingham to to Sign it and get Sir Robt. Clifton to Send after the Judge to Warwick So dear Father I hope you will press on the Gentlemen of your Town to save my life and let no time be lost—So dear Father I shall look for some of you over as soon as possably you can—Dear Father and Mother if it is my fortune to Suffer I know the loss of your Offspring will be a great Trouble to you but I hope God will pardon my Sins and then I think your loss will be my gain, So I conclude and remain your infortunate Son in distress

James Crofts

30th March 1817: Hoveringham Framework-knitters appeal to Hosiers to raise their wages

AN ADDRESS
Of the FRAMEWORK-KNITTERS in HOVERINGHAM,
AND ITS VICINITY.

TO THE GENTLEMAN HOSIERS.

GENTLEMEN—To your humane Feelings we address ourselves, because the little ray of Hope we had left is somewhat revived, on hearing of a Demand for our Labour: we say our Hopes are revived, because you, Gentlemen, have often cheered us by promising an Advancement of Wages when there came a Demand. Then what shall we say, Gentlemen, to excite your Compassion; shall we picture the particular Circumstances of our Family Distresses, which you will find, buy a strict Investigation, to be without a Parallel! No! a Reflection on our present Miseries, would not only hurt your humanity, but give us increased sorrow. Gentleman, we beg leave to submit to your Consideration an average Statement of our scanty Earnings. You know, Gentlemen, we cannot average at the most more than Nine Shillings per Week, at the first Hand, and when the Deductions are taken off, such as Frame Rent, &c. there cannot remain more than Six Shillings and Sixpence, and when House Rent, Coals, Candles, &c. there cannot remain more than Two Shillings; and if we average the married Man's Family at Two Children, there remains only Sixpence per Head, for a Man, his Wife, and Two Children for the Week!

We feel no pleasure, Gentlemen, in drawing up such a Statement, only we remember with what pleasure you came forward on former Occasions, and advanced our Wages, when our Wants were not half so pressing, as they are at the present time. Gentlemen, we rely upon your goodness, and humbly hope you will lift us up (at least) one Step towards the Comforts of Life.

On the behalf of the Trade, and our Fellow (suffering) Workmen, we are, Gentlemen, sincerely and respectfully, your obedient and humble Servants,

JOSEPH HALLAM,
THOMAS KITCHIN,
WILLIAM FOSTER,
THOMAS DODD,
THOMAS PARKINS,
WILLIAM HALLEWAY,
THOMAS MARTIN.

Hoveringham, 30th March, 1817.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

29th March 1817: Heathcoat & Boden awarded £10,000 compensation for their 'Loughborough Job' losses

It was reported in the Leciester Chronicle of Saturday 29th March 1817 that during the recent Leicester Assizes, the owners of the lace factory at Loughborough that had been attacked by Luddites - Messrs Heathcoat & Boden - had brought a case against the local authority for compensation and had won an enormous sum:
At our assizes during the present week, Messrs. Heathcote and Boden obtained a verdict for ten thousand pounds, subject to the award of a Referee, from the Hundred of West Goscote, for injury done to their premises on the 20th June last, by the Luddites. A meeting of the inhabitants of the Hundred is called, to take the business into consideration.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

28th March 1817: Daniel Diggle writes to his wife, from Nottingham Gaol

March 28th, 1817.

DEAR WIFE,

I write to you, hoping these lines will find you in good health; by the blessing of God I hope they will. I should like to have the pleasure of talking to you before I depart this life, if it could be done. Dear wife, I wish that I had been as you wanted me to be, I should not have come here; but I hope my companions will take warning by me—I hope they will. It is a system that never did, nor never will do any good; but it will bring them to the gallows as it has brought me. Dear wife, if I had been ruled by you, I might have been a pleasure to you and all my friends; but it is done, and cannot be undone—so you must make the best of it. I hope and pray that God will bless you, my dear wife.

DANIEL DIGGLE.

28th March 1817: A 'Mr. Richards' requests a meeting with the Home Secretary

Right Honourable
Sir

May it please your Lordship to have a private interview with a humble individual which may lead to some material information for your Lordship—consideration, and importance for the welfare and justice of this country

Your Lordship will have the goodness to excuse the Signature of name at present but the writer will wait for your Lordships answer as he is the Bearer of this himself will fully satisfy your Lordship as to the propriety of the greatest Secrecy at present

Fryday morng
28 March 1817

[On the reverse: "Mr Richards requesting an Interview"]

Monday, 27 March 2017

27th March 1817: Daniel Diggle writes to his family, from Nottingham Gaol

Nottingham County Gaol, March 27, 1817.

DEAR FATHER AND MOTHER,

I take the opportunity of writing to you, hoping these few lines will find you in good health as they leave me better than ever I have been for many years, thanks be to God for it. I can die happy, for I put my trust in God—God is all my cry; night and day do I put my trust in him. I have now nearly finished another week, perhaps it may be my last week in this world, at least my last week will come. I shall not live another week on the earth; death is drawing nearer and nearer—it is sure to go, but how soon is uncertain. I might have been cut off in my mad career, then what would have become of me.

DEAR BROTHER,

Think of my situation, and keep good company. Do not break the Sabbath-day, and go to some place of worship, that will be the best you can do; for if I had been ruled in time, I should not have been here—that you know too well. I was glad to hear of your getting your liberty once more; and now you have got it again, strive to keep it. If any one entice you to go to the ale-house, do not go with them, unless you know them to be good company, for good company is the best: take my advice, dear brother, that you may be a comfort to my dear father and mother as long as you live. If you take the advice, I am very sure you will take no harm. See what bad company has brought me to. I beg you will take my advice—let me beg and desire you will. If I been at a place of worship on the Sunday night, instead of going to do what I did, how much better a man should I have been. Give my advice to all my companions, that they may repent before it be too late, for there is no repentance in the grave. Lord, hear my prayer for them. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked. An unpardoned sinner can have no peace with God. Dear brother, keep the Sabbath by all means, for that is the root of all.—But have I not sinned against God, and deserved this awful punishment? yes, my very heart is sinful, and the sins of my life are more than can be numbered. I have not indeed been what the world calls a great sinner; but oh! how often have I taken God's name in vain; how often have I broken the Sabbath by my sinful pleasure; how many times have I disobeyed my parents; how idle and legitimate have I been; how often have I coveted my neighbour’s goods; surely I must, in God’s sight, be a very great sinner; surely I have reason to fear, lest he should cast me into hell: now Christ is my only Saviour from this place of torment.

[DANIEL DIGGLE]

Sunday, 26 March 2017

26th March 1817: Henry Enfield sends Joshua Mitchell's confession to the Home Office

Nottingham March ye 26. 1817

My Lord

The Secret Committee desire me to transmit to your Lordship the enclosed paper, containing Disclosures made by Joshua Mitchell, one of the Luddite prisoners in Leicester Gaol—The papers, of which the within is a Copy, came into the hands of the Secret Committee from a Friend of Mitchell’s—& therefore the Committee wish that they should not in any manner be used against Mitchell—they certainly have no wish that they should weigh at all for him—on the contrary they would lament if any thing done by them should in the least interrupt straight forward Course of Justice against this most dangerous man—The object of the Committee in transmitting these papers and to Your Lordship, is to possess Your Lordship of the Information which they contain relative to other persons and Joshua Mitchell—especially to direct Your Lordship’s attention to Frank Ward, than whom a more Sanguinary Villain does not exist, if credit be given to the various Testimonies respecting him—

I have [etc]

H. Enfield

[To] The Lord Sidmouth

26th March 1817: The statement of the Luddite, Joshua Mitchell

Examination of Joshua Mitchell

Loughbro’—Was at the destruction of Heathcoate’s Machinery at Loughbro’—I had the Gun and Bayonet in the top Shop—I committed no violence, only threatened—Blackburn shot Asher—C: Blackburn first told me of this plot on the Tuesday evening before it was done—On the following morning (Wednesday) Francis Ward mentioned it to me and urged me much to go saying there would be a deal of money—said there had been a Turn-out of Heathcoate’s workmen who had expended a great deal of money—they (the Loughbro’ men) Ward said offered £100 for the Machines to be destroyed or Heathcoate Shot—but in consequence of their expences they could then afford to give only £40 or £50—but if done to their mind he (Ward) knew by going over to them he could get more—Ward also observed that men would be wanted to work in the Factory and some of them (Ludds) might get into what they call a good deal of work—he (Ward) told me he had frequent interviews with the Loughbro’ workmen—On the day of the Loughbro’ business seven of us met at the Navigation Inn Nottm—Badder met them—I received of Badder (10 shillings or 15 shillings) said he received it of Ward—one Wingfield of Ruddington was present—we afterwards separated—3 went to Loughbro’ by the Coach—the other 4 walk’d—met again at Loughbro’—Needless Inn—I received betwixt 3£ & 4£ of Ward about a week after the Loughbro’ business—received 30 [shillings] or 40 [shillings] afterwards—Savage (with one Powell New Radford) went over to Loughbro’ about a fortnight before the thing was done & made the bargain:—was to receive 50£—recd all but 18£ then which was sent to Ward the Sunday after the destruction—who paid it to Savage—money was also raised in Nottm—Ward and Badder were very active in raising & paying money especially Ward—Ward paid £10 for destroying some frames in Woolpack Lane in Nottm  in Goose Fair Week—I assisted him in the destruction—did not receive it from Ward himself.—

New Radford.—I assisted in the destruction of Wright & Mullen’s Frames at New Radford—Several Meetings were held at the Odd Fellows Arms in New Radford before the Frames were broken—Badder, Thos Glover, Henry Mayfield John Anderson Saml Fletcher and some others attended—Wright & Mullen were sent for to enquire as to their prices—the Meeting thought they had been working under price & said their Machines ought to be broke—the persons I have named said they could raise a sum of money if the frames were destroyed & strongly urged the measure—I received 3 [shillings] from Glover the day before the frames were broke—knows all the men concerned in this business.—

Castle Donington—I was not concerned the destruction of Mr Orgill's Frames—I know who were—mentions their names—Saml Preston told me on the Sunday morning (the Frames were destroyed in the night of that day) the Machines of Mr. Orgill would be broke that night—He said he had borrowed the key of a Framesmith’s Shop in Nottingham for the purpose of lending the men that they might take out what they wanted (one Shore’s Shop who now lives in Narrow Marsh)—a Wrench was left in Orgill’s Shop—Toulson slept at one Price’s at Beeston Rylands on his return—Ward plotted this business—

Linby more than 5 years since—broad Lane Paddock at Mr. Harvey's—New Radford at Mr. Noble’s—Old Sneinton at Stensons—New Sneinton—Near the Bugle Horn Nottm.}Was concerned in these various depredations besides many others

Warp Lace Committee—The Meetings were held at the Duke of York in Nottm—Ward has been one of the Committee—Matthew Atkins of New Radford has also served on this Committee—Matthew Atkins of New Radford has also served on this Committee—Thos Roper is Secretary—Ward Treasurer—Roper lives near Charlotte Street—I attended a Meeting in Christmas week—Thos Roper acted as Secretary—met once a month except something particular happened and then oftener—recollects attending a meeting about this time to consider as to raising money to pay the Law expences for defending the Luddites who had been tried —It was agreed that the Warp Branch should advance the money—balance about 40£ and Foulks from Loughbro’ proposed that the Loughbro’ Committee should give them joint them to repay it in 3 months—2 other persons from Loughbro’ attended with Foulks as a Deputation from the Lougbro’ Committee—Foulks & F. Ward belong to the Loughbro’ Committee—

Twist Lace Committee—Foulks of Loughbro’ belongs to this Committee—Adam McRea (Broad Lane Nottm) told me this Committee had employed him to get men to shoot one of Mr. Kendall’s wokmen who had refused to turn out—two had refused—one was to be shot as an example—a large sum would be paid—McRea said he received 23 [shillings] from this Committee which he gave to Josh. Mellor of Basford—who promised to get men to do it—C. Blackburn & Thos Henfrey told me they had received 4 [shillings] apiece from Mellor to shoot some man—they did not know who the man was & requested me to enquire—I saw McRea and asked him who the man was—he said it was one of Mr. Kendall’s men who resided at New Sneinton—I persuaded them not to do it—does not recollect his name—McRea received 20 [shillings] more of Foulks for the same purpose—At the sign of the Col. Wardle in Nottm meetings were frequently held—

F. Ward—John Hill told me Ward had promised him £10 if he would shoot Mr. Seals (a Lacemakr Nottm) and 5£ more if he would shoot his workmen (Banwell) for working under price—Hill wanted me to join him—I refused—this is since the Loughbro’ business—John Hill had called on Ward for some money for the Loughbro’ business—he said he had not any for that concern and then made him this promise—

Continuation of Mitchell's Confession

A Plot was laid by Ward to murder the Judge the last Leicster Assizes—he gave 10 men 10 [shillings] a piece to pay their expences from Nottingham to Leicester. I received 10 [shillings] from John Hill—said he had received it from Ward—some of them brought Fire Arms. I saw a Pistol at the sign of the Jolly Bachus in Leicester—knows all the ten—We all met at the Jolly Bachus—Ward frequently called on us—immediately after Towle’s trial was over, Ward came to them and said Towle was condemned—said he was determined to have the Judge done—he then pulled out £5—said it was all he had (except 2 [shillings] to carry him home) he would give them that—he said he would give the man that pulled the trigger a golden guinea more—I said take the money up again as nothing of the sort would be done—Ward said he was determined it should be done and then offered the golden guinea and said he knew where he could get another—he left the £5 saying they must share it amongst them—he left the money in my hands—said they had better appoint some one to take the Command and the rest be ruled by him—said they must consult amongst themselves and do him either at his lodgings or on his way to Coventry—Ward went away saying he should sleep at Loughbro’ and should be out of the way—

Thos. Woodward—John Hill—William Withers—Little Ben of Thurmaston—Isaac Burton—Clarke—Wm Towle—were hired—Some Members of the Hampden Club called on us next morning at the Jolly Bachus—and proposed rescuing Towle—Digby (stiled Gen Digby) said he had inspected many Depots of Arms—said the Depot at Derby could be taken in 20 minutes—mentioned many others—one Bellamy also came—Hill and myself saw Ward next day at Nottingham—and told him what the Hampden Club Men had proposed—he appeared anxious for it to be done—Ward during hisat Leicester was recommending frames to be destroyed—Richard Thornton—Stones Junr a Carrier of Loughbro’—and one Bell were present—Ward told me he collected money from his Journeymen—two Storers (Brothers)—Hopkin and his (Ward’s) Brother in law Hawley.

The £10 paid for breaking the two frames in Woolpack Lane was paid by Ward to Saml Hooley—then a Shopmate of mine—Hooley told Ward what sort of work these frames were making and Ward then offered the £10—I received the day the frames were destroyed—I distributed it to my accomplices—Hooley resides with his father—top of Barker gate—

John Southern Fisher gate gave me £1. to destroy four silk knotted frames in Crosland Street about three years ago—shewed me the house

Pym (who has lodgings in the Meadow Platts) & ____ Wheatcroft, who lives near Pennyfoot Hill paid me £5 for destroying four frames at Mr. Bullock’s in Bellar Gate—one Hutton was also concerned—Pym told me he and the other two men belonged to the Silk Knotted Committee—they met at the Dog and Drake

John Anderson paid me and John Hill 5 [shillings] a piece for the Loughbro’ Business—he belongs to both Committees

Ward, Anderson and Macrea—has heard them urge the New Basford Business—when Kilby and Bamford were shot—Ward said he would find some money—John Swanwick (Independent Hill) offered to raise £5—would be answerable for that if he advanced it himself—Amos was present—The morning after—Richard Groves and myself went to see the men who were shot. Swanwick asked Groves how Bamford was dressed—he described—Swanwick said they were things he had given him the night before—Adam Mcrea was in Company with the men immediately before—treated them and waited at the Horse and Chaise in Sandy lane till their return

Ward proposed the warp Lace hands should subscribe five [shillings] a piece for the Castle Donington business—I received money from Joseph Harris—Samuel Hooley—James Cowlishaw—I gave it to Francis Cooper one of the men concerned

Thomas Kirk (Fair Maiden Lane Nottingham)—advanced money for defending his nephew—T Kirk for assaulting Kilbourne—it was repaid by the central Committee (Point Net).

Samuel Husbands of New Radford contributed to the New Radford Business—also to the Loughbro’ largely—has seen him pay money to John Blackburn

Joseph White (Broad lane Paddock) told me he had paid more than two Guineas towards the Loughbro’ Business—James Cowlishaw was present—at the sign of the Eclipse Chapel Bar—

Has heard Gravener Henson speak favorably of Luddites more than 5 years ago—thought they should have a Commander—has heard him say a Revolution might be easily effected—and if Nottingham stood where Leicester was it soon would be—said it was a central situation—thought Weedon Barracks should be first seized then Derby Armoury—Anderson about a year ago told me 500 men had marched from Leicestershire—but had been recalled—he said it was planned to seize Nottingham Barracks first—then the Soldiers Arms in their quarters—then the Derby Armoury—then to Weedon Barracks and so on to London compelling every one to join them—

I saw Gravener Henson a day or two after the Loughbro’ business—he asked me if I was there—he said a Revolution might easily be brought about in the same way by rising in the middle of the night—Amos told me the plan was formed by Dennis Rhodes of Nottingham and my name was put down for one concerned.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

22nd March 1817: Derby Assizes Grand Jury call for the reinstatement of the death penalty for frame-breaking

Derby County Hall March 22nd 1817

The undersigned Gentleman, constituting the Grand Jury now assembled at the Assizes for the County of Derby, think it necessary to represent to Lord Sidmouth and the Government their unanimous and decided opinion, that it is highly expedient to make Frame-breaking a capital offence and to subject all persons, subscribing and collecting money to be paid for the Commission of it, or acting in any other manner as aiders or abettors, to the same punishment as the Principals—It must be well known by Lord Sidmouth that so long as the act of the 52nd of the present King was in force not one outrage of this nature was committed by the Luddite Conspiracy, but that immediately after the repeal of that Statute the practice of Frame-breaking revived and has ever since continued—These Facts fully warrant the Conclusion that the existing laws are insufficient for the suppression of the Luddite Conspiracy, and justify the application which the Grand Jury think it is their duty to make to Lord Sidmouth, for an act to be obtained for the more exemplary punishment of Persons guilty of Frame-breaking.

Henry FitzHerbert
A: B: Malley
Winfield Halton
Edward Miller Mundy
P. Gell
Fra. Hurt
W Denny Lowe
J: Radford
Charles Hurt
John Crompton
Joshua Jebb
Bache Heathcote
Robt Holden.
John Toplis
J. Beaumont
John Bell Crompton
[illegible] Draper
W Lord

Saturday, 18 March 2017

18th March 1817: The trial of Joseph Mellors, Nathan Diggle & Jonathan Austin, for attacking William Cook, at Nottingham Assizes

On the same day that the Luddite Daniel Diggle was tried and sentenced to death for his part in an abortive attack in Nottingham, his accomplices in a later attack on Lord Middleton's gamekeeper - William Cook - were put on trial at Nottingham Assizes:
JOSEPH MELLORS, NATHAN DIGGLE, and JONATHAN AUSTIN were put to the bar, charged with having in the night between the 2d and 3d of January last, in company with Daniel Diggle, the prisoner on whom sentence had just been passed, and four others, who have absconded, among whom were Henfrey, Woolley, and Shaw,) beset the house of Mr. William Cook, of Shortwood, near Trowell (gamekeeper to the Right Hon. Lord Middleton) and firing at him several times, through his chamber window, and also firing at Francis Woolley, his neighbour, who came to Cook’s assistance. 
In this prosecution Lord Middleton addressed the Learned Judge a very feeling and impressive manner, stating, that as a dreadful example to the country was about to be made in the execution of Daniel Diggle, who was the principal person concerned in the outrage upon the person, family, and dwelling of one of his gamekeepers, his Lordship did not wish any sanguinary or vindictive proceedings against the three others in custody, and the more especially, as he had reason to believe, they were the least guilty of any of the gang: for as to one of them, when Daniel Diggle proposed to break into Cook’s house and murder him, that one prevented Daniel Diggle from so doing: and therefore, with the learned Judge's permission, he (Lord Middleton) would withdraw all further proceedings against them—his Lordship declaring that all proper means should be taken to apprehend Henfrey, Woolley, Shaw, and others, who, it appeared, had been concerned in the attack upon the house of Kerry, but who were equally guilty with Daniel Diggle, in the outrage in the middle of the night at Cook’s. His Lordship declared that his motive was only public justice, and he thought, as to the four in custody, that end had been obtained. 
The Learned Judge very pointedly complimented Lord Middleton upon the propriety of his conduct on the occasion, and in the most solemn and impressive manner addressed the three prisoners at the bar, informing them, that they owed their lives to his Lordships interference in their favor; for it appeared from documents in the Learned Judge's possession that they were guilty, and might have been convicted if the prosecution had been proceeded in. The Learned Judge exhorted them to go home and break off from the gang of depredators with which they had been heretofore connected—to amend their lives—and, in future, to endeavour to live by honest industry; and to beware of ever being brought to the bar of a Court of Justice again.

18th March 1817: The trial of the Luddite Daniel Diggle, for shooting George Kerry, at Nottingham Assizes

COUNTY OF NOTTINGHAM.

Tuesday, March 18.

This morning, DANIEL DIGGLE, a fine stout-looking young man, only 20 years of age, was put to the bar, and arraigned on a charge of having on the night of Sunday, the 22d of December last, entered the dwelling-house of George Kerry, situate in the parish of Radford, armed and disguised, and then and there, wilfully, maliciously, and unlawfully shot at the said George Kerry, with intent to kill and murder him!

To this indictment the prisoner pleaded guilty, but Sir Richard Richards, having humanely pointed out to him the consequences of such a plea, and recommended him to consider the matter, and by pleading not guilty, take the chance of a trial, with some reluctance he consented, and pleaded not guilty.

Serjeant Vaughn shortly stated the case to the Jury. Four men were concerned in the perpetration of this atrocious act. One of them stood at the bar; another would be brought to give evidence, and the other two, Woolley and Henfrey had absconded.

Mr. Denman called William Burton the accomplice, but his Lordship wishing to have Kerry's evidence first, he was called, and Burton was ordered out of Court.

George Kerry (examined by Mr. Denman) was a framework-knitter, and lived at Radford. On the Sunday before Christmas Day, about eight o'clock in the evening, himself, his wife, his mother, Hannah Morley, and his niece (Ann Kerry) were at home. The door was closed and latched, but not locked. Two men lifted up the latch, opened the door, and came in; they had dark coloured long great coats on, with handkerchiefs over their faces, tied up to their eyes; one was a dark checked handkerchief, the other a light faded one; their hats were slouched down; one was a taller man, the other not so tall; at such a time one cannot tell to one, two, or three inches; they said "Advance into the parlour;" but the women were so frightened, instead of obeying the order, they all went into a corner; we were sitting in the house-place—the house-place is on one side of the door, and the parlour on the other. The men had pistols in their hands, which they presented at me and my family; I rose up from my chair, and seized the first man’s pistol by the barrel; he was the shorter man of the two; some struggling ensued; he appeared wishful to discharge the pistol into my body; I turned it aside, and when he pulled the trigger, the contents went into the fire, and knocked out some coals; the candle stood about a yard and a half off, and it was blown out by the firing of the pistol. I gave the pistol a twitch, but did not get it from him, I only drew out the ramrod.— (The ramrod was produced in Court.) I saw the other man with his pistol ready to discharge it at my head, he stood within nine inches of me, and perceiving he was going to fire, I stooped down, and when he fired, part of the contents catched my head, and the other part went into the wall in a triangular form; it was loaded with shot and slugs, and hit a tea tray fixed against the wall, and knocked it down. Two shot-corns entered my head, Mr. Attenburrow (surgeon), extracted one that might, and another the Saturday following. I have reason to believe there is another yet in my head, for it hurts me when I press on the place. I fell down, crying out, "I'm shot, I’m a dead man." They turned round and ran out of the house immediately. Hannah Morley, my wife's sister, locked the door. I got up soon after, and would have followed the men, but the women would not let me. The whole transaction, from the time of their coming into the house, to the time of their going out, might be a minute and a half; there was not above a few seconds between the firing of the two pistols. I saw Daniel Diggle afterwards in the gaol at Nottingham; it was on the 15th of Feb. Hannah Morley and John Kerry were with me. By order of Mr. Rollestone, one of the Magistrates, the turnkey’s lodge was cleared, and Diggle was brought up to me. When he came up, he shook me by the hand, sat down by my side, and asked me how I did; I replied not so bad as you meant me to be, and he made no answer, but his colour changed. I told him I was come to see him in a different form to what he came to see me, the Sunday night before last Christmas day; he made no answer. I asked him what induced him to do so. (Here the learned Judge made particularly enquiries whether any promise had been made to the prisoner, to induce him to confess. The witness maintained that no inducement was held out to Diggle either by himself, or any other person, in his hearing. Hannah Morley was present all the time, and some of the turnkeys occasionally came into the room.)—He made no answer. I asked the question several times, but still he was silent; at last he said, he'd be damn’d if he knew what made him come. I said to him, I reckon you left me for dead, when you left our house; he said he did. I asked him what he thought of me when I seized Woolley’s pistol; he replied, I’ll be damn’d if I know what to think of you. I said, you see I know, do you know who has told? Prisoner said no. I said, then I'll tell you, it is Burton: he replied, I know’d somebody had told, by what Mr. Rollestone said to me last Saturday.—He asked me where Burton was; I told him in Leicester gaol, he said he had never seen him since he was taken. I asked him if he knew what he said when he was coming down Pearson’s close, (Pearson’s close is about 120 yards from Kerry's) he said he did not know. I asked him if he did not say, damn his eyes, we’ll blow his brains out at the first go off; his answer was, I believe I did. I asked if Woolley did not come into the house first. He replied yes. I knew the persons both of the prisoner and Woolley very well, though I did not know them at the time. The prisoner’s father lived next door to me for several years, and is a very honest, industrious man.—(Here the witness’s feelings seemed almost to overcome him.)—Diggle said Shaw loaded the pistols in his room, as he and his wife were sitting at the fire. He said he expected at the time that Woolley, Shaw, Burton, and Henfrey were to come to my house, but when they had loaded the pistols, they put a pistol in his hand, and forced him to go; they were all in his room. I asked him where the hammer came from, that Burton had; he said from Bobber’s mill. The prisoner said Henfrey got the powder at Pogson’s. Hannah Morley asked him if he recollected what he said when he went out of the house; he replied he did not know, for he ran all the way home, quarrelling with Henfrey all the way for loading the pistols with any thing but powder. Hannah Morley repeated her question, adding did you not say, "damn his eyes, he’s is as dead as a nit;" the answer was, I believe I did. The prisoner said he had done that by me for which he should be hanged, and hoped I'd be as favourable as I could. He said Burton wanted them to come back again and break the frames, after they had left me for dead.

William Burton, the accomplice, (examined by Mr. Clarke) lived at Nottingham. On the Sunday before Christmas day, himself, Diggle, Henfrey, and Woolley, set off to break a frame at Kerry’s, it was about eight o'clock, they took three pistols and a hammer with them; witness carried the hammer; Henfrey fetched it from Constable’s house or garden, he did not know which, at Basford plat. Henfrey brought one of the pistols into the room loaded: the other two were loaded with powder from Pogson’s. at twenty minutes past eight, the prisoner and Woolley entered Kerry’s house, with pistols in their hands; witness staid at the door. When Diggle flung the door open, Kerry said, "halloo." The prisoner had a great coat on, with a light coloured handkerchief tied on his face, and an apron round his shoulders.—Diggle said to those in the house, "go in," meaning go into the parlour. The women screeted and a little girl (Ann Kerry) came to the door, but on seeing him with the hammer, she ran back again, and directly after the pistol was fired. Witness both heard and saw it; saw Kerry lay hold of Woolley’s pistol, and heard it go off. When the other pistol went off, Diggle and Woolley ran out of the house directly. He asked Diggle what he could think of firing? Diggle said because Kerry had seized hold of Woolley. Witness told him he had no occasion to fire, and he replied he was damn’d mad at himself for it. Witness then said, you're always such a damn’d fool when you’ve got a bit of powder; O says Diggle, damn him, he's as dead as a nit.—Witness and the prisoner went down some closes home; Henfrey and Woolley took another road.

Hannah Morley the sister-in-law to Kerry, was examined by Mr. Denman, but as her evidence was only confirmatory of that of Kerry’s it is not necessary to repeat it.

Ann Kerry, the niece, the girl who went to the door, and ran back when she saw Burton, was placed in the witness box, merely for the purpose of giving the prisoner an opportunity of asking her any questions he might think proper, but he declined doing so.

Thomas Pogson remembers that on Sunday before Christmas, about six o'clock, Henfrey came to borrow some powder of him. He lent in some in a horn.

The witness received an admonition from the Judge, and was desired to be more guarded in future.

The prisoner was called upon for his defence.—He said he did not know that the pistol was loaded with any thing but powder; he did not load it himself; and he only fired it to frighten them.

On being asked whether he had any witnesses to call, he mentioned several names, which were called in Court, but none of them appeared. After a considerable pause, the Learned Judge began his charge to the Jury; but before he had proceeded far, it was announced that one of the prisoner’s witnesses had made his appearance, and his Lordship, with that humanity, which we had frequent opportunities of admiring while he presided in the criminal court, and which we cannot sufficiently applaud, immediately paused, and ordered the witness to be sworn. It proved to be

Wm. Hemmett, who had known the prisoner twelve years, and gave him a good character.

It being stated that others were expected, his Lordship waited, and the next who appeared was

Robert Willis, a framework-knitter, of Arnold, who knew the prisoner, for he had worked for witness from July 1815, to July 1816, and always conducted himself well.

Elizabeth Hemmett had known him seven or eight years; he worked with her husband, and bore a good character as far as she knew.

After impartial and clear summing up of the evidence by the learner judge, the jury were desire to consider their verdict; which they returned obstinately, "guilty, my Lord."

His Lordship proceeded to pass sentence of death upon the prisoner, which he did in so impressive a manner, as to draw tears from most persons in the Court. It was nearly in the following words:—

"Daniel Diggle—You have been tried by a patient and attentive Jury, and been convicted on the clearest evidence, of an offence, which the law has made capital. In consequence thereof, your life has become forfeited, and you must lose it in the prime of your days, and in the full vigour of your mental and corporeal faculties. You went to the house of your neighbour and friend, a man who even now speaks of your father in terms of commendation; you went along with the other assassins, with deadly arms, forgetful of your duty to your God, forgetful of your duty to society, and forgetful of your duty to your father; you went, without provocation, in the calm and tranquillity of the evening, and you did all that you could, to murder your neighbour in cold blood. I thank God that you failed in your diabolical purpose. Your crime is of that magnitude, that you must not expect any mercy to be shewn you here; I should think myself accessary to the crime were I to suffer you to live, and depend upon it, I shall not disgrace myself, by soliciting mercy on your behalf. I therefore most earnestly intreat you to prepare yourself for that world, for an entrance into which I am afraid, you are quite unprepared. I have now only to pass the sentence of the law, which is, that you shall be taken to the place from whence you came, and from thence to the place of execution, there to be hung by the neck till you are dead, and may the Lord God of all mercies, have compassion on your soul."

These words were pronounced with so much solemnity, that they appeared to make a deep impression both on the prisoner and the Court: almost every eye was suffused with tears, and his Lordship himself was evidently much affected.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

16th March 1817: Louis Allsopp accuses the frameworkknitter union leader, Gravenor Henson, of being the 'chief instigator' of the Hampden Clubs

(Private)—

Nottingham
16. March 1817.—

My Lord—

I  have had a Communication since my return with Mr Hooley, who is prepared to state his firm Belief & Conviction; that G. Henson is the chief Instigator of the Hampden Clubs here, tho’ not known to be a member of any one Club; that prior to the Establishment of Hampden Clubs Henson had the Charge of the Books & papers belonging to the Society of the associated Counties of Lancashire, Yorkshire, Leicestershire & Nottinghamshire, whose object was to overthrow the [Government] & effect a Revolution; & that these books & papers are in the possession of G Henson. at a Meeting of the Deputies from the different Counties in December at his house; that it was determined at this meeting that it was then too early to make any attempts, but that they [should] wait till the Spring, by which time the Country would be irritated by the Rejection of the Petitions in the mean time to be presented, & would be ripe for the purpose & a Revolution might be effected; that as soon as Parliament evinced a determination to support the measures brought forward by yr Lordship, Henson concealed, or destroyed these books & papers, & no Traces can be obtained of them, nor any Evidence of their contents procured; that Henson avoids appearing openly, & is too cautious to commit himself to any but a few he thinks he can confide in;—that tho he may appear to be quiet, yet that all his attention & Views are directed for his favorite objects of a Revolution; that in these Views he is assisted by a man of the name of [Matthew] Atkin, who is also a very shy & cautious man—Mr Hooley has obtained his Information from a person to whom Atkin has communicated these matters, & though he can take upon himself to swear to the his firm belief & Conviction in these Circumstances & that Henson & Atkin entertain at this time Views of a most dangerous & treasonable nature, yet as no conviction [could] take place without further Evidence, & as there is little or no probability of getting at any of the papers, Mr Hooley entertains an opinion that no good would be derived from an arrest of these men or either of them; they would be considered as Martyrs & only comfortable from their Confinement hereafter, possessed of more influence and Consequence than they now know, & that by waiting there is a Chance they may become bolden, & their papers may be got at—At the same time as yr Lordship possesses much more general Information of what is going on here & elsewhere, Mr Hooley & myself have thought it right to transmit these points to yr Lordships Consideration with this an observation, that we shall most readily adopt any measures your Lordship may advise—G.Henson is a most skilful man, he has quiet Caution & Command of himself—

every thing is going on with Spirit & Courage all will, I understand, be quiet—Your Lordship will of course have heard of the Conduct of the Prisoners at Leicester, I have no doubt the Magistrates there will do their duty—

Mr Hooley has made a sacred promise to the person who gave him the Information not to divulge  his name, but he has the greatest [illegible] in his Veracity.

I have [etc]

L. P. Allsopp

PS – I have this morning seen Blackburn & Burton who were brought over Yesterday from Leicester to give Evidence—The former says G.Henson has now nothing whatever to do with Luddism, only with politics—but there is a man of the name of Ward (whom I know) who is a very bad fellow in every respect, he was the person who suggested & instigated the men to the murder of the Judge—

16th March 1817: The Duke of Newcastle informs the Home Office he plans to attend the Nottingham Assizes

Clumber
Mar. 16. 1817.

My Lord

I write a few lines to inform your Lordship that I am going to attend the Assizes tomorrow, for the purpose of giving support to the Judge & Sheriff and to be of what use I may be able—

The Sheriff was so good as to transmit to me your Lordship’s letter informing him that you had had  intimation of a body of people from Manchester being about to pass thro’ Nottingham, he mentions that he can gain no news of such persons being expected, and at a meeting held immediately to consider your Lordships information, it was decided that the preparation already made was so ample that nothing further was necessary—However to make every thing secure I have ordered two troops of Yeomanry escort to Nottingham to be under arms and ready to march at a moment’s notice—

I am sorry to observe that the cavalry has all been withdrawn from Nottm except 20 dragoons.—It is expected that all will go off very quietly, if otherwise, we shall be fully prepared to meet any opponents, and I feel sanguine in the hope that every one will do his duty—

I shall write to your Lordship if I have any information to give you.

I have [etc]

Newcastle

[To]
The
Visct. Sidmouth
&c &c &c

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

15th March 1817: Charles Mundy informs the Home Office that Blackburn & Burton have been moved to Nottingham under escort

Burton March 15th 1817
near Loughborough

My Lord

I have the Honour to inform your Lordship that I have made arrangements with the commanding Officer at Leicester & the High Sheriff for the County Nottingham for the removal of the two prisoners Blackburn & Burton from Leicester to Nottingham and under an escort of the 15th Light Dragoons this day. I anticipate that they will return on Tuesday or Wednesday.

I have [etc]

C. G. Mundy

[To: Lord Sidmouth]

15th March 1817: The arrest of John Clarke, aka 'Little Sam' is reported in the press

The Leicester Chronicle of Saturday 15th March 1817 reported the arrest of John Clarke, aka 'Little Sam', a man wanted for involvement in the 'Loughborough Job'. The arrangements for his arrest had been discussed recently by the prosecuting solicitor Jeffrey Lockett & the Home Office's John Beckett:
A man named Clarke, has been brought from a depot in Devonshire, where he had been marched previous for his embarkation for some foreign station, for desertion, charged with being concerned in the outrage upon Messrs. Heathcote and Boden's factory at Loughborough.

Friday, 10 March 2017

10th March 1817: The Luddite,Thomas Savage, writes to his wife from Leicester Gaol

Leicester County Gaol
March 10, 1817.

My dear Wife,

I write these few lines to you, hoping they will find you in good health, and my dear children. I am as well as can be expected in my situation; tell my dear father he must do every thing in his power for me; I have had no attorney to see me at present; what I have got to say will be to my attorney; so no more at present from your loving and affectionate husband,

THOMAS SAVIDGE.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

8th March 1817: Charles Mundy is concerned for the safety of the Luddites-turned-infomers, Blackburn & Burton

Burton March 8th 1817
near Loughborough

My Lord.

I take the liberty of addressing your Lordship on account of the uneasiness I feel for the safety of the two prisoners John Blackburn and William Burton who are as your Lordship is perfectly aware the mainspring of the case against the Luddites now in the Gaol of this County. I find that both those persons will be necessary as Kings Evidence at Nottingham assizes the former in the prosecution for the attack on my Lord Middleton's gamekeeper the latter in the attack on one Kerry’s House & shooting at him & wounding him in the Head. As Nottingham assizes unfortunately take place previous to those at Leicester there is every possible inducement for such of the Gang as are at large & their very numerous friends to attempt the lives of those men, for if they were disposed of the whole case for the prosecution for the outrage at Loughborough falls to the ground with the exception of one prisoner (Thomas Savage) The removal of these persons from Leicester to Nottingham will be attended with danger as will also their appearance in Court at the latter place. I should hope the High Sheriff & the magistrates for that County will take ample precautions and that the police of the Town will likewise be called into service on the occasion. If I might venture to offer an opinion I should suggest that a very large number of Special Constables should be appointed, & selected from the most respectable classes & well arm’d. I will say to your Lordship (privately) that I fear they are hardly sufficiently alive to the danger and that a jealousy of acknowledging the justice of the bad character the population of the Town & neighbourhood have acquired induces them to under rate the probability of any attempt of the kind I allude to.—Respecting the mode of conveying these two men from Leicester to Nottingham I conceive that best mode will be to take them in chaises under an escort of dragoons two troops of the 15th Lt [Dragoons] are at Leicester but I believe none at Nottingham the distance from Leicester to Nottingham is twenty five miles. In my opinion the best method would be to bring send an escort from Leicester to Loughborough the day before the men set out which would be ready, with their Horses fresh, to take charge of them from the escort which brings them from Leicester & convey them to Nottingham and remain in the Barracks (which are out of the limits of the Town) to convey the men back again, the Escort which brought them to Loughborough remaining there to receive & convey them to Leicester. This arrangement will of course require all your Lordships interference respecting the escort. I should think sixteen men would be sufficient—probably infinitely less would be sufficient for real security but the terror of the two men especially Blackburn, is so great that I am sure you Lordship will see the necessity of inspiring them with confidence. I should hope either a Military Guard or a strong party of well armed Constables will be retaind in the County Gaol at Nottingham during the time these men are there. If this plan should be adopted by your Lordship I would order chaises from Nottingham to meet them at my House which is in the most direct road from Leicester to Nottingham; some distance would be sav’d & the Town of Loughborough avoided. The escort from Loughborough would take charge of them here with less tumult than at Loughborough.—An attempt at a correspondence between Savage & some friends at Nottingham has been discovered to the Gaoler through the means of a prisoner charged with sheepstealing. the Object of it is that a party from Nottingham are to be ready in the vicinity of the Gaol on a certain night the prisoners at Locking up time are to rush on the two Turnkeys & either murder them or force them into one of the Cells & lock them in while others secure the Gaoler & get possession of the keys. Let themselves out into the street where their friends are to be ready with tools to take off their irons & a change of Cloaths to facilitate escape. I have procured a Guard of the 15th [Light Dragoons] every night from Locking up time till after they are let out of the cells in the morning.

I suspect they have some plan in agitation from which they expect success otherwise I cannot account for their encreased spirits & appearance of confidence knowing, as I do, that their [illegible] gives them no hopes of acquittal. As the assizes for the County of Nottingham are very fast approaching I have thought it right to lose no time in stating the circumstances to your Lordship.—I have the Honour to remain

My lord, your Lordships most Obedient very Humble Servant

C. G. Mundy

I should add that the prisoners now in the Gaol of this County for trial at the next assizes amount to no less than fifty four.—

[To] The Rt Honble Lord Sidmouth &c &c &c