Monday, 20 February 2012

20th February 1812: Duke of Newcastle to Home Office

Febry. 20,1812


Since I last had the honor of writing to you a measure has suggested itself which I really think may be so applied as to make it highly beneficial in preventing the breaking of frames.

I would propose that the worker of the frame should be made answerable for the preservation of it and liable to prosecution for the loss to which he has subjected the owner in case of damage being done to the frame without any offer of resistance on his part or in consequence of his connivance at the act.

I would then propose that in whatever Town village or parish a frame should be broke, that such Town etc. should be obliged, without any reference to the circumstances of the case immediately to remunerate the frame owner or Hosier for the damage done to his property by the loss of his frame This Penalty should be most rigidly enforced, and no exception made.

Perhaps it would also be very expedient to give to the Town, Village or Parish in which the frame has been broken the power of coming upon the frame-worker for payment, on his part, to them of that sum which they have been obliged to pay to the Frame owner — and in the event of his refusal that they should be able to sue him if they think proper.

In this manner as it appears to me we shall be making it the Interest of Towns and Villages to prevent the commission of one of the chief outrages which disgrace our County; and I will beg of you to give it your most favorable consideration as I really have great hopes that this will be the most efficient measure which has yet been adopted for the prevention of frame-breaking.

Is it too late to insert these as clauses in the Bill which you have lately brought in?

I think it right to inform you that it is known that there are orders at Birmingham for arms for the rioters; and it is as far as I can learn certain that delegates are sent from hence into all the great Towns in this Country. The disturbances at Leeds were planned from hence, as I learn, and the people say amongst themselves, that it was a mistake and that they began too soon. I hear it reported that some machines were broken at Huddersfield a few days ago.

Before I send you the account of any reports which I hear I endeavour as much as possible to ascertain the fact. I cannot pretend to vouch for the entire authenticity of all that I have mentioned in the latter part of this letter I can only add that I am strongly induced to believe them.

I have [etc.]


The letter can be found at HO 42/120.

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