Milton, 15th December, 1812.
Nothing can be so honourable to an individual, as when the public voice calls for some mark of public consideration being bestowed upon him; I have reason for thinking that the disturbed parts of the clothing district feel so strongly impressed with a sense of your indefatigable and unremitted exertions as a magistrate, the risks and dangers you have, and are now braving, with undaunted fortitude, in the service of the country. for the discovery of the disturbers of its tranquility, that it is the earnest wish of the most respectable gentlemen that a honourable mark of the Royal approbation should be conferred upon you : such a one as is suitable to the independent fortune you possess, and the high considerations you enjoy among your neighbours.
Allow me to ask would a baronetage be acceptable, and I must go further, and still put another question, would it be acceptable to you to receive it on the recommendation, and at the solicitation of His Majesty's Lieutenant, stating the meritorious services (so ample a field for description), as the ground on which he makes his request ? I feel the necessity of being explicit, because circumstanced as I am with the administration , I can ask, as an individual, no favour, nor can I assume that you would receive one at my hands but as an officer of the Crown.
I feel myself entitled to recommend, for public reward, those who, in the department committed to my superintendence and care, render indisputable and essential service in emergencies of the most trying and alarming nature. I have but one word to add, which is to assure you that it will be most gratifying to me to receive your permission to proceed in this business, being with sincere esteem, very truly yours,
Joseph Radcliffe, Esq.
Mr. Radcliffe would seem to have given the consent so courteously asked, for some nine months later the following communication reached him from the Secretary of State
Whitehall, 18 September, 1813.
I have the honour of communicating to you the gracious intention of H.R.H. the Prince Regent, 'forthwith to confer upon you the dignity of a Baronet of the United Kingdom.'
It is with great satisfaction that I convey to you such a testimony of the opinion entertained by H.R. Highness of that loyal, zealous, and intrepid conduct which you have invariably displayed at a period when the West Riding of the County of York presented a disgraceful scene of outrage and plunder; and by which, in the discharge of your duty as a magistrate; you contributed most materially to re-establish in that quarter, tranquility and obedience to the laws, and to restore security to the lives and property of His Majesty's subjects.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your most obedient and faithful servant,
Wentworth, 22 September, 1813.
This morning's post brought me a letter from Lord Sidmouth, to announce the pleasing communication of the Regent's intention to confer on you the dignity of a Baronetage, "in consideration of your exemplary, useful exertions as a magistrate in the West Riding, at a period of the utmost difficulty, alarm, and danger."
Though Lord Sidmouth says in his letter that he shall make the communication to you, I cannot refrain from troubling you with these few lines, to express how truly I consider the dignity to have been earned by the services performed; how much I think it for the public interest necessary that exertions of this nature should not pass unnoticed by Government; but on the other hand, they ought to be held up, as in this instance they now are, as examples for similar exertions in similar emergencies; and lastly, to add, that a measure more acceptable to the West Riding could not have been adopted than this acknowledgment (so it will be considered), on the part of the Government, of the eminent service rendered by your exemplary firmness and exertion.
I am, dear Sir,
Most truly yours,
Joseph Radcliffe, Esq.