Sunday, 27 May 2012

27th May 1812: Parliamentary Select Committee on the Framework-knitters Petitions is released

On Wednesday 27th May 1812, the Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to consider the petitions of the framework-knitters released their findings from the evidence they had heard and made recommendations.

The report was clear, as early as the third paragraph that 'nothing less than the interference of the Legislature will be competent'. It considered the Charter granted by King Charles the Second to the Framework-knitters in 1664 to be a 'dead letter', ignored by the hosiers and unenforced by the local authorities.

The report singled out the chief complaint of the framework-knitters the hearings had heard from - that of 'fraudulent work' made by poor practices - as the principal cause of the decline of the trade. The report recommended that single press lace, single cotton and single worsted and cut-ups be prohibited, along with the payment of truck or goods in lieu of wages.

The Committee was keen to underline that none of the witnesses had called for a regulation of wages and, in part contradictory to their calls for regulation, that 'trade must always be left to find its own level'. Similarly, the Committee was similarly sceptical about the value of regulating frame-rents, but did feel that greater transparency was necessary.

Finally, the Committee unhelpfully pointed out that only one Hosier had been prepared to give evidence, leaving the door open for them now to influence the progress of the Bill they had already recommended.

In just over 6 weeks time, Hosiers would become more involved before another Select Committee.

This has been summarised from the Report from the Committee on the Framework-Knitters Petitions, 1812 (247) 2, pp.3-7.

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