Friday, 28 September 2012

28th September 1812: Joseph Radcliffe reacts angrily to comments about his legal cases from Government

My Lord

I had the honor to receive Your Lordship's letter of the 24th Inst this day, & beg not to be intrusive in the following remarks, & as I confine myself at home during these disturbed times more so than any other Magistrate in this part of the West Riding of the County of York, being day & Night at the service of the public, it is my ardent wish to know that whilst so many Soldiers are necessarily in the small Alehouses in this neighbourhood: if drunkenness is to be looked upon as an excuse for making use of seditious expressions by the people in such houses. the consequence will be that soldiers who have taken the oath of allegiance, & have been brought up in the habit of thinking & speaking with reverence of their King will think proper to punish the utterers of such expressions in a summary way, with their fists, or other weapons, & though this should not (as it probably may) cause general riots & confusion, between the lower Class of People & the soldiary, yet the Soldiers would be liable to punishment by a Court Martial, & the instigator of the quarrel escape, because they chose to get drunk before they committed an other offence.

Sr. Should any one for the future be taken up & brought before a Magistrate for using such expressions, ought He be discharged, as a matter of course, & no notice taken of the information, or in what Manner is He to be proceeded against?

I have this day Committed two persons to York, Mr. Lloyd attended & has promised to transmit the particulars to your Lordship, I have the honor to be Your Lordships

Most Obt
Hbl Servt.
J: Radcliffe

Milnsbridge House
Sepr 28 1812.—

[To: The Lord Sidmouth]

This letter can be found at HO 42/128.

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