Friday, 17 February 2012

17th February 1812: Address “To the Framework-Knitters of the British Empire,” Nottingham


THE United Committee of Framework-Knitters, in conformity with the Resolutions of a General Aggregate Meeting held at Sir Isaac Newton's in this Town, on Monday, February 17th, 1812, consisting of One Hundred and Six Deputies, (Seventy-six of whom were from the Towns and Villages within Sixteen Miles of Nottingham,) beg leave to present to the whole Trade of Framework-Knitters, the following RESOLUTIONS agreed therein:—

RESOLVED-That it is the Opinion of this Meeting, that the War, in which we are so fatally engaged, is the principal Cause of the Calamities with which the Framework-Knitters are so heavily oppressed.

RESOLVED-That for want of the Public being guaranteed by Legislative Protection against the fraudulent and deceptive Arts, practiced by disreputable Manufacturers, the Credit of several Branches of our Trade, hath been almost destroyed; and, that when any Branch of National Manufacture is essentially injured, the Public Revenues must feel a Shock!

RESOLVED-That Cut-up Goods (except Breeches and Waistcoat Pieces) wrought in the Plain or Ribbed Branches of our Trade, are reducing those extensive and valuable Branches to the lowest ebb of Degradation; and, if persisted in, will inevitably throw those lucrative Parts of British Manufacture into the Hands of Foreign Artisans.

RESOLVED-That Plain and Ribbed Stockings, or Gloves, made of whatsoever-material, ought to have their denominative Marks, regulated by the Gauge of the Frame, on which they are wrought, and the Sizes and Qualities by the Number of Jacks, to prevent both the Public and the Workmen from being defrauded.

RESOLVED-That every Species of Net, wrought upon any Principle upon a Machine, ought to be paid for by the RACK or COUNT, to prevent Impositions, of the most distressing nature, upon the Workmen; which every honorable Manufacturer is ashamed of, and which, in the end, are beneficial to none; except while there Impositions are a SECRET.

RESOLVED-That the making of Single Press Cotton Net, upon Point Frames, or Warp Two-course-hole Net, on Warp Frames, or the making of Net on any Principle of Single Cotton Yarn, is considered highly detrimental to the Lace Trade, and dangerous to the future existence of the British Cotton Lace Manufacture; and that is highly desirable, that a Legislative Prohibition should be obtained, against the making of such deceptive Articles. But, if unfortunately, the Legislature should think it improper to prohibit the manufacturing of any Article, however deceptive, yet this Meeting are fully of Opinion, that no kind of Net, wrought with a Machine, should be suffered to be sold without a Stamp being affixed on it, denominative of its real Quality, under a penalty proportional to the magnitude of the Offence.

RESOLVED-That the practice lately pursued by some Manufacturers of paying their Workmen in Goods, is void of every honorable principle, moral, local, political and divine; because, by it, misery the most unbounded is inflicted upon those unfortunate Workmen and their pining Families, who are subject to its baneful operations: many of them having been filched of their hard Earnings, full 50 per Cent, by this vile and unlawful practice.

RESOLVED-That Parliament be applied to, as soon as possible, to obtain a Bill for a Redress of the above Grievances; and to establish the Propositions contained in the foregoing Resolutions.

RESOLVED-That a Committee of Seven Persons be appointed to draw up a Statement of Grievances of every respective Branch of our Trade; and to carry the foregoing Resolutions into effect.

RESOLVED-That the whole Trade in the United Empire be solicited to communicate every Information in their power, and to send Subscriptions to the Sir Isaac Newton, Glasshouse Lane, Nottingham, to enable the said Committee to carry the above Resolutions into execution.

RESOLVED-That the Nobility, the Gentry, the Manufacturers and Tradesmen of the Counties of Nottingham, Derby, and Leicester, be solicited to contribute their Aid to the above.

RESOLVED-That these foregoing Resolutions be inserted to the Nottingham and London Papers.

(Signed, by Order of the Committee,)
WILLIAM PAGE, Treasurer.

The Committee beg leave to recommend the practice of colting to a legal decision on the Law of the 5th Eliz. Cap. 4., Sec. 31, which enacts, That every Master, who shall employ any Workman, in any Craft or Occupation, who has not served an Apprenticeship of Seven Years, shall forfeit Forty Shillings for every Month he employs such Workman.

N. B. The Committee beg leave to state, that the PROPRIETOR of the Nottingham Journal, HAS REFUSED TO INSERT THESE RESOLUTIONS, consequently they am only appear in the NOTTINGHAM REVIEW.

This address was published in the Nottingham Review of 21st February 1812, following a meeting held on the 11th February at The Sign of the Sir Isaac Newton in Nottingham. Kevin Binfield (2004, p.108) has noted the similarities between the demands of this document of the 'legal' campaign of the United Committee of Framework-Knitters and the demands of the 'illegal' Luddites, and it particular the ballad 'General Ludd's Triumph'.

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