Monday, 19 March 2012

19th March 1812: The trial of John Ingham at the Nottingham Lent Assizes

The Nottingham Review covered the final trial at the Nottingham Lent Assizes  on 19th March 1812, which appeared in the 27th March edition of the paper:

Thursday morning, notwithstanding the Court was opened at six o'clock, yet it was crowded to excess, by persons of every rank in the town, desirous of hearing the trial of John Ingham, who, at the suit of the Crown, had been removed from the town gaol by writ of Habeas Corpus. On the part of the prosecution the Counsellors were, Mr. Clarke, Serjeant Vaughan, Mr. Reader, Mr. Balguy and Mr. Reynolds. For the prisoner the Counsellors were, Serjeant Rough, and Mr. Copley. Mr. Selby being sworn, he stated himself to be foreman in the House of Wm Nunn and Co. in Nottingham, whom he said were proprietors of the silk lace manufacture, and a cotton lace manufacture; that the prisoner had served under him in the capacity of a general warehouseman; that he had frequently seen him write invoices, orders, and general bank accounts; but did not remember to have seen him write more than one letter, and that was fifteen or sixteen months ago. On being shewn two letters subscribed “NED LUDD AND CO.” From New Radford, and directed to Wm. Nunn and Co. Park-street, Nottingham, the one being dated the 20th, and the other the 30th November, 1811. and brought from Nottingham post office, by Gilling, the general servant of the house; he stated it as his belief that they were written by the prisoner at the bar, to whom he gave an excellent character; but would not take upon himself to swear positively that there were his handwriting, because they appeared to be written in a disguised hand. On being asked why he believed them to be written by the prisoner, he answered, from the general conformation of the characters, and from the general expression of the letters. He stated that he was about three months in the same warehouse with Ingham. The letters were then read by the Clerk of the Court, from is extreme bail expression, it was impossible to collect any thing from him except their general import, which was, that Mr. Nunn had long been in the habit of imposing his workmen, by demanding his lace pieces to be made longer than the rest of the lace manufacturers; that though he had put to the rack, which regulated the length of the pieces, yet was not a sufficient atonement for past offences. Nor would Ned Ludd and Co. be contented, except he published a clear statement of his intentions to the world; that without this was done, fifty of his frames should be destroyed, his premises should be burnt, himself, and Clark, (his taker-in) who was accused of being the principal instigator instrument of his oppressions, should be made personal examples of. One of these letters further declared, “that atonement shall be bad, atonement which will make human nature shudder!” The Judge then asked, do you think there is any doubt of any other person having wrote them? To which he answered, “I will not swear they are Ingham's hand-writing.” Mr. Selby was then asked, if the length of Mr. Nunn’s pieces had been generally complained of, in which he replied, they had: and that he himself had, through his recommendation, caused the rack to be applied, to prevent such complaints in future.

Robert Renshaw, another warehouseman of Mr. Nunn’s, was then shewn the letters; and he stated upon oath, that they were in the prisoner’s hand-writing; that his knowledge of such hand-writing arose from having seen the prisoner write invoices, orders, and general bank accounts.

Q. Have you not a person in your warehouse of the name of Flanagan?—A. Yes.

Q. Where is he?—A. From home, Sir; he is gone to see his friends.

Q. Was he not served with a subpoena?—A. Not that I know of.

Q. Was he not served with a form of one?—A. Yes; but it was not properly filled up.

Q. Do you know who sent him that subpoena, the prosecutor or the prisoner?—A. I do not.

Q. Were no applications frequently made to see him?—A. Yes

Q. Who answered the person who applied?—A. I did, sometimes.

Q. Do you know the person? No.

Q. When did Flanagan leave town?—A. Yesterday morning.

Q. How old is this Flanagan?—A. He is upwards of twenty.

Q. He is under your orders, I suppose?—A. Yes.

Q. Tell me, Sir, who sent him out of the way?—A. I did.

Q. What did you send him out of the way for, Sir?–A. On business which I could not transact myself.

Here the Judge shook his head, and, emphatically, said, “I do not like it”

Mr. Clarke then disclaimed any knowledge on the part of the Counsel of this in their proceedings, and, at the suggestion of the Judge, offered to put off the trial till the next Assizes, and liberate the prisoner on bail. The prisoner, however, refused the proffered favour, and wished his trial to go on.

Mr. Clarke, then by way of exonerating the last witness of the foul proceeding with which, on his own confession, he stood charged, asked him, if Flanagan was not sent out on the business of the House, when he stated that he was. This, however, did not satisfy the Judge, and he again offered to put off the trial and the prisoner again refused to proffered [illegible].

Sergeant Rough then stated to the Judge, that there was a flaw in the indictment, in as much as William Nunn and Co. were therein stated to be Proprietors of a Silk and Cotton Lace Manufacture: whereas, according to the deposition of Mr. Selby, the principal manager of the firm in Nottingham, it appeared, that they were Proprietors of a Silk Lace Manufacture and a Cotton Lace Manufacture.

Every species of law chicanery was resorted to by the Counsel for the Crown, to shew the impropriety of the alleged flaw; but the Learned Judge said no and had a duty to perform, and he would perform it; and until he was convinced, that Mr. Nunn had manufactured Lace of Silk and Cotton conjointly, he must admit the objection to be a good one. His Lordship further remarked, that the prisoner’s Counsel had very properly stated the objection, and as properly insisted upon adhering to it; he therefore ordered the Jury to acquit the prisoner, and he was Acquitted accordingly.

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