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Chris Heather and Paul Carter 25 November 2011 War, Welfare and Want in the 1790s Cataloguing Home Office Correspondence for England & Wales.

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Presentation on theme: "Chris Heather and Paul Carter 25 November 2011 War, Welfare and Want in the 1790s Cataloguing Home Office Correspondence for England & Wales."— Presentation transcript:


2 Chris Heather and Paul Carter 25 November 2011 War, Welfare and Want in the 1790s Cataloguing Home Office Correspondence for England & Wales

3 Recent Events

4 Events 220 Years Ago – 1790s

5 Lazare Hoche Bantry Bay, Co. Cork

6 Images of Diverse Documents

7 Poor Benguelina!

8 HO 42: Home Office, Domestic Correspondence, 1782 to HO 42/34/57. Folios Letter from Thomas Wyndham of Dunraven Castle, MP for Glamorgan, on behalf of the magistrates of Bridgend, reporting riotous behaviour attributed to the retailing of corn by the Winchester measure and seeking some limited military protection. 28 February HO 42/21/245 Folios Letter to William Pitt from [Richard Bush] of East Hill, Wandsworth [Surrey], stressing that Government should ensure that the unpromising wheat harvest should not lead to food shortages through a failure to control exports Sept 24 HO 42/27/15 Folios Anonymous letter signed 'Spectator' tracing the country's decline from the outcome of the American War through the accumulation of the National Debt to a high tax burden and consequent discontent. The writer attacks the logic of Burke's essay on the French revolution and points to the folly of the Government's attempts to suppress Paine's writings. He indicates the absurdity of a protestant king upholding the interest of a 'popish despot' and a 'diabolical priesthood'. The letter presses the case for parliamentary reform, citing the disregard by MPs of widespread public support for the abolition of the slave trade. He closes with a plea for the home secretary to beg the king to make peace with France Nov 5 HO 42/22/197 Folios Letter from Thomas Poole of the Post Office, Maidstone [Kent], asserting that seditious publications were not circulating there and that the town was governed by persons of proven loyalty Nov 23

9 Coleridge & Wordsworth

10 Why catalogue them? A wide range of sources has been examined by historians over the years. By far the most important and extensive are the varied official documents held in the Public Record Office [Now TNA]. Most useful have been the Home Office (HO) Papers, particularly HO , which contain correspondence between the home secretary and local magistrates and other provincial dignitaries on disturbances in their locales. John E. Archer, Social Unrest and Popular Protest in England, , Cambridge UP, 2000, p 5.

11 The Home Front in the 1790s – HO pieces (Boxes of loose papers in HO 42) Grant from the Friends of TNA Approached UCL Photographers / Hand-held camera Images checked / cropped / uploaded Plan to make available to public in Documentsonline

12 Images Posted on a Website

13 30-40 Volunteers around UK Each allocated a section of one document Download images from website Complete a Word Template and to TNA Checked and run-together Into the Catalogue Cataloguing

14 Master Plan

15 Where are we now? All 33 pieces digitized 15 pieces on website 75 allocations returned 20 whole pieces in the Catalogue 13 pieces being worked on In other words – on track!

16 Monarchs Inventors Industrialists Politicians Military Leaders HO 42: Home Office Correspondence

17 Date: May Catalogue reference: HO 42/150, folio 130v-131 To the Gentlemen of the parish of Ashill, Norfolk. This is to inform you that you have by this time brought us under the heaviest burden & into the hardest yoke be ever knowed, it is too hard for us to bear; you have oftentimes heeded us saying the fault was all in the Place - men of Parliament; but now you have opened our eyes, we know they have a great power, but they have nothing to do with the regulation of this Parish. You do as you like, you rob the poor of their Commons right, plough the grass up that God sent to grow, that a poor man may not feed a Cow, Pig, Horse, nor Ass, lay muck and stones on the Road to prevent grass growing. If a poor man is out of work, + wants a day or two's work, you will give him 6s per week, and then a little man that does not employ a labourer at all, must help to pay for your work doing, which will bring them chargeable to the Parish. There is 5 or 6 of you have gotten all the whole of the Land in this Parish in your own hands & you would wish to be rich & starve all the other part of the poor of the Parish: If any poor man wanted any thing, there you will call a Town meeting about it, to hear which could [contrine] to help him the most, which have caused us to have a County meeting, to see if we cannot gain some Redress. Gentlemen these few lines are to inform you that forthrightly have brought our blood to a proper circulation, that have been in a very bad state a long time, and now without an alteration of the foresaid, we mean to circulate your blood with the leave of God. And we do not intend to give you but a very short time to consider about it, as we have gotten one or two of the [head], on our side. There was 2 cows and an ass feeding on the road last Saturday & there was 2 farmers went to the keepers & said they would pound them if they did not drive them away; one of them candidly sent home, got a plough & horses and ploughed the grass up, that on the road. We deem the miller to be full as big rouge as you farmers for if the wheat raise 1s per coomb he will raise it 2d per stone. So we shall drive the whole & knock down the mill, set fire to all beggarly [XXXX] houses & stacks as we go along, we shall begin at night. And the first man that refuse to join the Combination shall suffer death in a moment, or the first person that is catched saying anything against the same, shall suffer death. He have had private ambushers round us for some time, and by this time you will find it is coming to a point. Take notice that this is a private letter wrote at this time, but [XXXX] fear its ---- too public for your profits, so we wish to prepare yourselves ready for action; for we intend to have things as we like, you have had a good long turn. We have counted up that we have gotten about 60 of us to 1 of you. Therefore, should you so govern so many to 1. No. We will fight for it, and if you gain the day, so be it Historical agency


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