The SELECT COMMITTEE appointed to take into Consideration the several Petitions, which have been presented to this House, in this Session of Parliament, by the Persons employed in the FRAMEWORK-KNITTING Trade; and to examine the Matters thereof, and report the same, with their Observations thereupon, to the House; and who were empowered to report the Minutes of the Evidence taken before them; and to whom several Petitions of Persons carrying on or concerned in the Trade and Business of HOSIERS, were referred;—HAVE considered the Matters submitted to them; and have agreed upon the following REPORT:
YOUR Committee proceeded to examine the Witnesses produced by the Hosiers, and to hear the Objections to the different Clauses in the Bill now before the House, for preventing Frauds and Abuses is in the Framework-knitting Manufacture, and in the payment of Persons employed therein: They have heard evidence a considerable length from the Nottingham Hosiers, but did not think it necessary to hear evidence at the same length from the Hosiers of Leicester, as they stated to the Committee, that their testimony would be generally given to the same purport as that already taken.
Your Committee, in their former Report, stated the difficulties they had met with in procuring full and satisfactory evidence on the general state of the Framework-knitting Trade, and therefore necessarily made a Report founded almost entirely on ex-parte evidence: but they now proceed to inform the House, that from the evidence since adduced on the part of the Hosiers, they feel themselves called upon to state, that a considerable difference has taken place in their opinion as to the propriety of enacting several other provisions in the Bill.
Your Committee have been confirmed in the Opinion expressed in their former Report, that the Workmen suffer considerable inconveniences, and are liable to deductions in various ways, in the payment for their work: but They have found it very difficult to suggest measures that can meet or obviate all those abuses; being of opinion that legislative enactments alone will not have that effect; and that trade of every kind should be left as much as possible to find its own level.
Your Committee, however, on consideration of the whole Evidence, beg leave strongly to recommend the removal from the Bill of certain Clauses relative to the Hosiery business; and also to recommend the enactment of certain Regulations for the Lace Trade, which they confidently hope will tend to remove much dissatisfaction between the Masters and Workmen in that trade, and to encourage a more general use of that article, by ensuring its more serviceable and perfect quality.
Your Committee are so strongly impressed with the importance of some relief being given to the Trade at this moment, that they feel it to be their imperious duty to press it upon the immediate consideration of the House; and, notwithstanding they can see no objection to the provisions of the Bill, they consider it in some degree as a Bill experiment, and therefore recommend it to be passed only for a limited time, by inserting a clause, that unless it shall be renewed by Parliament, it shall expire early in the year 1815.
This has been summarised from the Second report from the Committee on the Framework-Knitters Petitions, 1812 (349) 2, pp.65-66.