I understand that Abraham Crompton was a Wool Merchant and Banker.
Some letters and documents relating to him are as follows:
To Mrs Hacker
14th February 1745
I received you kind letter by sister and one since with ye account of ye Rebels proceedings at Derby which I thank you for. I was very glad to hear you bore up so well under your hurrys. It’s a great mercy so many of our relations and friends returned in so much safety, after being driven from our habitations. I went into York [shr?] and took ye opportunity to see friends and relations when at Doncaster . I did not think Cousin Coape and Cousin Hacker was so near as Rotheram. I went to Gainsborough, ye road lay through [Missin?} where cousin Catherine was born and I recollected ye name Whitaker, her relations names and called of them. They were very glad to see me, a great many people came out of their houses, they were so afraid of ye rebels. As I wondered at ye Minister they told me couldn’t preach ye day before. Cousin Crompton’s family was well. I went up to Leeds where I found them well and Cousin Molt in a very fine composed frame, not much disturbed. Mr Makant was with me, we went up to York and happened to be recommended to a large inn but we did not know it was a disaffected house. Sabath day I had a desire to hear ye Bishop though he wouldn’t preach because he was in ye City ye night before but he did not come ye next day. We was in ye Minster and in Service was fetcht out by ye Blues and taken before ye Lord Mayor and a Steward to ye Dean. A friend of ours came and informed them of us and we was released.
Please to turn over.
On ye Fast day I was at Stockport. Mr Hardy, ye Minister there preached. He then had a cold but it was on ye mending hand. Ye rebels had taken him near Leek and run him to Derby and back to Manchester through thick and thin, where he was released. Deborah[?] was at ye Chappol at Stockport. She lives about a mile of Stockport in ye road to Chester. Ye Rebells were round about them in sight of them, within a quarter of a mile of them. They was wonderfully preserved from them. She lives in a very pleasant place, has a pleasant being there. Her husband is very loving and quiet, not doubt but she carrys well to him for I take her to be very considerate and prudent. She had a very dangerous time with she lay in 4th child was dead. She had Dr White and another. She desired when I wrote to you to give her humble service to you and ye rest of your family. I came home on Friday after ye Fast and found General Oglethorpe’s Lady and servant. The General was here and a Indian King with him. He sent for his Lady hither. She went to Preston , didn’t like there and came again. She was here about a fortnight, a week after I came home and then went into the North. She had a man cook with her. The Rebells, part of them, they were march ye South, came through this town road to ye Cross, pulled out a paper and read a many of our names and then came and searcht our houses for arms and asked where I was. They had heard of me, they wanted four or five thousand pounds of me towards bearing Charge of their Prince’s Army. What I was gone into York [City?] asked in their return from Derby whether I was akin to him of ye name in Derby .
One of the heads of them sat on horseback att our door, made a speech and said they were come to mend ye times and they would or they would all die. The Church should be as it was, and so should ye protestant dissenters be ever ye same. One of them told me they heard ye speech, I askt him exactly, when they returned a party came in after nine at night with torches flaming and affrighted ye inhabitants very much. A many great persons lodged here, they sent a file [of?] soldiers, they had ye Tune Let ye King have his own again, they said what if you should be hanged for playing a tune. They had dancing to ye music. They bid Paul set candles in all ye windows, after a while one said its late, lets got to bed. Paul was glad to hear ye saying. They made our people buy them coffee, tea, brandy, rum &c. The night after ye Shabrage came in. Nine was billotted but near 100 came, it was ye Guard House. Paul said he fetcht them in hay almost as soft as heath, and they lay upon the floor and had great fires. They eat a great deale and drank us almost dry. They loved boyld milk in ye morning. They quit Paul and another one their Oath that we had no more than one horse &c. Three mean men went out of this town with them. Ye Great ones that holds a correspondence with France and encouraged their coming durst not go with them with ye did come but sent little ones. It’s a mercy they did no more mischief amongst us for they have been very rough in some places. Some of our neighbours happily about 1½ or 2 years ago went into ye Highlands under pretence of buying wood and got none but settled a correspondence there and could write to their friends there anytime. I design to speak to Brother, I believe ye money sent was what left of yours. I am afraid a many of ye Rebels will get of their so cunning. Duke William and others are hotly pursuing them. Our Papist holds a correspondence and or other were continually go to France and a little before ye Rebells priests swarm here abouts. They are like bats now, they are crept into their holes.
It is time now to conclude for I shall tire you. These with my kind respect and services to yourself Cousin Coape and Cousin Hanah are from your loving brother
Please to give my respects and services to relations and friends where you think proper.
Sept 10 1762
As ceremony is an idle thing upon most occasions more especially to persons in my state of mind, I shall proceed immediately to acquaint you with the motive and end of addressing this epistle to you, which is equally interesting to us both, you are to know then that my present situation in life is such that I should prefer annihilation to a continuall of it, desperate diseases require desperate remedies, and you are the man I have pitched upon either to make me or unmake me yourself, for I never had the honour tolive among the greater, the tenor of my proposals will not be very courtly, but let that be an argument to inforce the belief of what I am now going to write, it has imployed my invention for some time, to find out a redress for my present agonies without hazarding too much my own safety; now for the application of it. I am desperate, and must be provided for; you have it in your power, it is my business to make it your inclination to serve me, which you must determine to comply with, by procuring for me in a months time the sum of fifty pounds which in six years with reasonable interest, shall faithfully be paid back to you, or him you make your heir, so I have given that [hole in letter] and as I wish you well and all mankind I would have you think seriously upon it. Secrecy and compliance may preserve you from all danger: but think I know the world too well to trust my secret in any breast but my own, a few weeks determine me you friend or enemy. Within the limited time; observe on the left hand the steps as you come down to the front gate post exactly over against the ninth bar from the gate post a little sod cut in the flat close to the wall; under which you’le find a little oyl’d leather bag; where you may put the money safely and securely till such time I call for it, or in case of refusal stones and fire are my executioners.
P.S. Order this affair in the night for fear anybody should see you. I am no murderer.
For Mr Abraham Crompton
To Peter Brook and Thomas Gillibrand Esqs, and Abraham Crompton Gent.
It is now about six months ago since I writt a letter on the same subject as the following, which tho’ it proved abortive and all things now seem quiet on that account yet do assure yourselves if my request is still to be rejected I shall most certainly use such means as may at last convince you that I am in earnest. And though twas never my design to have recourse to time yet I shall not fail to harass you with almost incessant mischief: for what is it any won would not do when a prospect of a great importance stands in his view yet for want of money can’t come at it? How ardently could I wish I had any other means to compass my desire but alas [have?] no other hope then what this unwarrantable method may afford, consider it your own condition; and then try if in your imaginations you can conceive some light ideas of mine: And from such thought only resolve through point of generous goodwill to assist a distressed object when he makes such a proposal as you can’t think he means to wrong you, which was never my intention towards any won: though I’ve cause to conjecture had discovered me in my late adventure I might in all probability have had some occasion to have been providing for my latter and, which if I had no more to answer for than on account thereof, would have been very welcome tome. Death could but have been the utmost exertion of blind zeal putting a period to the [existence?] of a life scarcely for [illegible] of death. Was the unthinking burden [hole in letter] for a time, what if not redress I must experience the remainder of my miserable days, [hole in letter] the most obdurate unrelenting breast could not but chuse to have compassion on such an object, especially since my request is so far bounded as to desire nothing more than what might be consistent with an unprejudicial gratitude. Worldly wealth I’m not ambitious of any further then what may be a handsome supper with industrous management. And though the sum of eighty pounds a piece is what I must require yet was it twice that sum it now lays in my power to make so considerable an advantage thereof as even to dubble it in a very short time. Don’t imagine I am only building castles in the air or fear I shall anyways banggle away the money, for let me tell you my scheme’s infallible and [hole in letter – disposition?] the reverse to that of an extravagant: Both which things you’ll better believe when you come to be acquainted with the designs and conduct of the author only I mention these particulars in order that you may have nothing to object. But if you knew how much it lays in my power inform [one?] of some things I [hole in letter] need to use so many arguments to induce you to compliance in this affair but it is altogether improper and dangerous to my project even to give the least hint till such time as by oath you’ve assured me of a profound secrecy when I shall not fail to unravel the whole unto you. So now if possibly you can think these lines of any consequence you also not fail each of you to make me a [writing?] in some such like a manner as what I’ve here proposed unto you. Finally wishing your designs as good towards me, as mine to all the world at present.
Mr Abraham Crompton
I N.N. of N Hall does herby promise to the author of that writeing which was dropt at Mr. Abraham Cromptons of Chorley on the night of the ninth of Marsh last past that if the said author of the said writeing will come and submit himself to me the said N.N. I will both forgive him his offence on account of the said writeing and will also lend unto him the sum of eighty pound current money of Great Britain and also further promise that I will never discover the least secret with which the said author may acquaint me except it be with his own consent but then the said money must be paid back with full interest at the expiration of the term of five years to be accounted from the time that he receives it which shall be as soon as required but if he refuses or neglects to perform what I’ve here prescribed on his part I will when the said term is expired be so far absolved from ties of secrecy as may be only required for the recovery of the money whilst on the other hand if it is returned at the appointed time this affair shall most invilalably be kept a secret and these my other ingagements most faithfully be performed unto which I here subscribe the sacred name of the
Al—gh-y G-d for and as a witness
Most ardently wishing by this my hand writeing that d-vi-e Ju-s may inflict upon me the most horrid C-rs-s that possibly can befall me in this world or in the World to come if I the said N.N. does not perform these my promises to which also as witness the underwritten gentlemen has subscribed their names.
To preserve these from the wet fowld them up in the same manner you found this writeing and in the dusk of an evening order them laid (by won whom it will be proper to sware to Secrecy) in won of those heaps of earth on the side of the causeway that leads over the middle of Chorley Moor in a strite line betwixt James Rigby’s commonly called Stuart and the nursery of trees belonging to Mr Gillibrand, but to prevent any mistake let won go immediately to the place where if he examines the left hand heaps on the side towards the said Rigby’s he will find a small hole thrust there in which is the exact place I’d have you conceal the writeings wherein you must specify that ower of the night at which I may meet each of you in that new building under the door of which I put first letter.
Chorley, April 11th 1763
Whereas a letter was put under the door of Mr. Abraham Crompton, of Chorley in September last, in which the said Mr. Crompton was ordered to lay fifty pounds in a hole made for that purpose, within the pales in the front of his house; and if this demand was not immediately complied with; fire and stones were to be his executioners. And also another letter of the same kind, and wrote by the same person, was found on the tenth of last month in the court of the said Mr. Crompton, directed to Peter Brooke, and Thomas Gillibrand, esquires, and Abraham Crompton, gentleman, demanding two hundred and forty pounds, or in case of refusal, they might expect to be harassed with incessant mischief. And in consequence of these threats, in the night between the fourth and fifth of this instant several windows at that [fold in paper] and Mr Crompton, were broke by the person it is presumed who wrote the said letters.
This is therefore to give Notice,
That these incendiary letters are in the hands of Mr John Hollinshead, of Chorley, to be seen and examined by any person in order to prove the hand, and if possible to find out the author. And we whose names are hereunto subscribed do promise a reward of twenty guineas, to any person that shall discover and give information who wrote the said letters or broke the said windows, to be paid immediately after the conviction of the offender.
Sir Henry Houghton Bart.MP
18th February 1793
Mr Crompton having communicated to me a letter received from you on Saturday last, I feel myself impelled to endeavour to clear him from some of those injurious charges laid against him. This I trust from your known character, will be a sufficient apology for this intrusion.
Judge Ashursts most excellent charge had been put up on our coffee room, but that it was taken down by Mr Crompton, I may safely say, is absolutely false; which from the authority I have, I am fully justified in doing; neither have I heard of any other instance of Political outrage though I believe many injurious reports have been circulated, and very unjust aspersions cast upon him, in consequence of this very unfortunate (and as his friend I must say inconsiderate declaration of his sentiments upon the different forms of Government. And notwithstanding we may suppose a degree of impropriety looking upon him as a Magistrate; yet, if we consider him only as a private individual conversing upon any topic whatever in a mixed company, his arguments certainly ought not to be regarded further than any others of that company so as to be censured particularly on account of his Magisterial capacity. And consequently in this point of view we may prefer, the impropriety in a great measure as done away. That Mr Crompton has regarded himself in this light I have no doubt, as he has more than once declared to me, that when not absolutely acting as a Magistrate, he only considered himself as one of the company he happened to be with, and consequently looked upon himself as having the same right to argue upon any subject, and give his ideas at the moment with the same freedom as the next. Yet in no other instance can I recollect the least impropriety or any circumstance tending to show the least violence of Political disposition.
As I think it necessary for Mr Crompton’s interest that you should be fully informed of the present unhappy circumstance exactly as it happened, and as I am convinced it is Mr Crompton’s wish that I should give you this information, I will take the liberty to inclose a copy of a declaration given and signed by me to Mr Caldwell (Mr Crompton’s Attorney) and also a copy of a letter written by me to a gentleman at Bolton upon the occasion of an attorney coming here with a view to obtain affidavits upon the business. These will convey the best account, as also my impressions at the time; in as full a manner as I can give them.
I most sincerely hope your good and friendly offices, (which I have no doubt will be exerted in his favour) added to your interest with Lord Hawksbury, and a proper representation from you of the facts, may be attended with every success I wish, and that you will shortly be able to convey to Mr Crompton the [hole in letter] news, that this affair is entirely settled [hole in letter] restore happiness to his family [hole in letter] Particularly Mr Crompton [hole in letter] in such an anxious uncertain moment as just given Mr Crompton. An addition to his family [hole in letter] have felt severely, as well as Mr Crompton who notwithstanding every exertion to keep his spirits up, I am well convinced has suffered much of that uneasiness of mind naturally attending [hole in letter] uncertainty, and the reflection of the pain [hole in letter] his nearest and dearest relatives; through [hole in letter] unthinking, unfortunate moment.
I am sir, with the greatest respect
Your most [hole in letter]