A century and a half ago, the American Civil War was well under way, and its devastating consequences for that country are well-known. But the conflict had serious repercussions on this side of the Atlantic, too. The cotton industry in north west England was dependent on supplies of raw cotton from the southern states, and when this supply was interrupted there was real hardship in some places.
This led to the fear of civil disturbances in some towns, including Hyde in Cheshire, where the authorities were sufficiently concerned to swear in a number of special constables to keep the peace. This document (Ref HO 45/7523) comes from the treasure trove that is Home Office Registered Papers 1839-1979, series containing more than 26,000 boxes and files.