Friday, 2 March 2012

2nd March 1812: Town Clerk of Nottingham writes to the Home Office about the Watch & Ward Bill

Dear Sir

I am very sorry on the part of the Magistrates of the Town to give Mr. Ryder any unnecessary trouble about the Watch and Ward Bill, the printed Copy of which I have received from Mr. Smith.

They perceive by that the Bill is framed quite anew as to extend generally to the whole Kingdom.—Our Clauses went to two points the protecting in some degree the Dignity and consequence of the Magistrates of the Town in the manner in which the acting upon it in the Town is to originate by providing that the Mayor or other chief Magistrate should be one of the acting parties therein and I still think that the Mayor or other chief Magistrate should be one of the Magistrates empowered to act herein, but I should not be so anxious as to wish any very extraordinary trouble to be given herein.—I confess however that I am still as anxious as ever that if the Alteration of the form of the Bill prevent my Clauses as to Special Constables from appearing in their original dress, that they should be embodied in the Bill as applying to all Cities and Towns, and that the word exclusive should be struck out of the description of the Towns and Cities having power to put the Act into force; because in the first place it would cause great doubts whether the Clause would embrace this Town of Nottingham in which altho' a County of itself is Magistrates have not an exclusive Jurisdiction, and because I am satisfied on the same ground that it would place Derby, Leicester, and a hundred other places wherever the County Magistrates have a concurrent Jurisdiction entirely under the control of the Magistrates of the County who would decline the burthen unintentionally imposed upon them and defeat the very object of these Clauses.

I shall feel much obliged by your representing my view of this subject to Mr Ryder, and by his aiding Mr. Smith's further exertions for the Alteration of the amended Bill.

The Framebreakers are certainly subsiding until after the Assizes they have been having recourse to turning Informers to procure money, as I suppose to support the defence of their Confederates at the Assizes I certainly augur good from this because I infer that there is, and I am confirmed there is from other quarters a considerable increase of a spirit of discontent and Indisposition to support them on the part of their own partizans.

I am,
Dear Sir
Your's very obediently

Geo Coldham

March 2d, 1812

This letter can be found at HO 42/120

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