Saturday, 8 April 2017

8th April 1817: The Luddite, Thomas Savage, writes to his wife & children from the condemned cell at Leicester Gaol

Leicester County Prison

My dear Wife and children,

I beg and pray of you, when you peruse these few lines, that they will be some consolation to you, though I know not how to find words to express myself to you. Let me intreat you not to lay my unfortunate end too close your heart, though I am sensible of your true affection for me; but let me press this on your mind, consider that there are six dear children, besides being pregnant again!! O let me intreat you again, my dear wife, don't give way to fretting, for the sake of my dear children. I need not say any thing more to you, consider that I know your good heart; I need not tell you that duty you have to perform; you know the duty of a wife and a mother, that you will bring them up in a right way; this I do assure you, my heart is at rest about that. Dear wife, let these few words comfort your heart. O what disgrace I have brought upon my family. Pardon, pardon me for that distress I have brought on you; I know I have robbed a virtuous wife of every comfort in this world, but I know you will forgive me. I have one consolation impressed on my mind, that with true repentance, through the merits of our blessed Saviour, I shall enter to eternal life, where I hope to meet you and my dear children. My dear wife, my fate is hard; but I assure you I am preparing my soul to meet that God I have so offended. Dear wife, I feel much composed to meet my fate. Give my love to your father and mother, your brothers and sisters, my love to all my friends and relations. I have wrote a letter to my dear father, which I hope he will let you see. My desire is to be fetched home to my father's house, unless you would desire I should be taken to you; but you have seen my friend before you receive my letter. My desire is to be laid where you and my dear children shall lie together; this is the desire of your loving and affectionate, but dying husband. I shall now conclude;---may God give you strength, and support you through all your trouble. I pray to God to give you health so as to enable you to see my dear children brought up. Farewel! Farewel! my dear wife and children, farewel! Adieu!

I remain your affectionate but unfortunate husband,


Condemned Cell, Tuesday, April 8th, about three o'clock in the afternoon.

This is from Binfield (205, p.158)

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