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Machinery Destroyed  29-02-1812

29th February 1812

It is with deep regret we have to state that outrages of a most alarming description and extent, have been recently committed in the neighbourhood of Huddersfield. On the night of Saturday last, a number of persons assembled near the premises of Mr Joseph Hirst, of Marsh; with their faces blacked, and their persons in other respects disguised, and having forcibly obtained admittance into the dressing shops, proceeded to destroy all the machinery used in the dressing of cloth such as dressing frames, shears, and other implements used in what is commonly called Gig Mills, the whole of which they completely demolished. The same, or a similar party then proceeded to the workshops of Mr. James Balderson, of Crossland Moor, in which machinery of the same description was employed, in which they committed similar depredations, completely destroying or rendering useless the whole of the machinery. The manner in which these outrages were perpetrated, was this:- The depredators, or to use the cant terms, Luddites, assembled with as much privacy as possible, at the place marked out for attack, and divided themselves into two parties, the more daring and expert of which entered the premises, provided with proper implements for the work of destruction, which they accomplished with astonishing secrecy and dispatch. The other party remain conveniently stationed at the outside of the building, to keep off all intruders or to give the alarm, if a superior force, was likely to be opposed to them. As soon as the work of destruction was completed, the Leader drew up his men, called over the roll, each man answering to a particular number instead of his name; they then fired off their pistols, (for they were armed,) gave a shout, and marched off in regular military order. They do not appear to have clone any mischief besides breaking the machinery; and one of the party having asked the Leader what they should do with one of the Proprietors, he replied, not hurt a hair of his head; but that should they be under the necessity of visiting him again, they could not show him any mercy.
The depredations appeared to the Magistrates to be of so alarming a nature, as to induce them to apply to General Vyse, of Beverley, for military aid, who dispatched an express to this town, with an order for the Troop of Scotch Grey's stationed in this town, to proceed immediately to Huddersfield, and which marched at 11 o'clock on Monday night, for that place. And it not being thought expedient to leave this town without military, a squadron of Cavalry was marched from Sheffield, and arrived about nine o'clock on Tuesday morning, and in the afternoon of the same day, a squadron of the 2nd Dragoon Guards, arrived from York, and on Wednesday proceeded to Huddersfield, to relieve the Scotch Grey's who returned to this town on Thursday. The Cavalry from Sheffield left this place on Thursday morning. These military movements have naturally created much anxious curiosity, but no disposition has been evinced in this neighbourhood, to disturb the public peace.
At an early hour on Wednesday Morning, the depredators, notwithstanding the vicinity of the Military, attacked the dressing shops of Mr. Wm Hinchcliffe, at Leymoor near Huddersfield, and broke in pieces all the machinery. These proceedings, have occasioned great alarm at Huddersfield; on the 25th inst. a meeting of the manufacturers and merchants was convened, when a committee was formed which was invested, with large discretionary powers, a number of special Constables were sworn in. and a reward of 100 guineas offered for the apprehension of any of the persons concerned in these outrages.

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