Friday, 1 February 2013

1st February 1813: The Prince Regent issues a Proclamation condemning Luddism and supporting machinery

By His Royal Highness The PRINCE of WALES, REGENT of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in the Name and on the Behalf of His Majesty.



Whereas we have beheld, with the deepest regret, the during outrages committed in those parts of England wherein some of the most important manufactures of the realm, have been for a longtime carried on: And being firmly persuaded that such outrages have been, in a great degree, occasioned by the wicked misrepresentations and artifices of ill-designing persons, who have deluded the ignorant and unwary, through the specious pretext of procuring additional employment and increased wages for the labouring manufacturers, by the destruction of the various kinds of machinery now most beneficially employed in the manufactures of this kingdom, and have thus seduced them to enter into unlawful associations, and to bind their consciences by oaths and engagements not less injurious to their own welfare, than destructive of the good order and happiness of society; and seeing that the extent and progress of the trade and manufactures of this country, which have been continually advanced by the invention and improvement of machinery, afford the best practical demonstration of the falsehood of all such pretexts; we, therefore, acting in the name and on the behalf of his majesty, being anxious by every means in our power to bring back his majesty's misguided subjects to a just sense of their own individual interests, as well as of their duty to his majesty, and of the regard which they owe to the welfare of the community, have thought fit, by the advice of his majesty's privy council, to issue this proclamation; and we do hereby, in the name and on the behalf of his majesty, exhort all his majesty's loving subjects strenuously to exert themselves in their several stations to prevent the recurrence of those atrocious combinations and crimes, by which the public peace has been so long disturbed, and the persons and property of individuals endangered and destroyed, and which have so justly drawn down upon the offenders the severest penalties of the law. And we do more especially warn those, who may be exposed to such seductions, against the danger of binding themselves by illegal oaths and engagements to obey the commands of secret directors, who, keeping themselves aloof, involve their deluded associates in all the guilt and peril of violence, robbery, and murder. And we do further, in the name and on the behalf of his majesty, earnestly recommend and enjoin his majesty's loving subjects, whenever it shall be found necessary, to have recourse to the salutary measures which the wisdom of parliament has provided for the protection of persons and property. And we do further exhort the proprietors of machinery, not to be deterred from continuing the use and employment of the same, but vigilantly and strenuously to exert themselves in the maintenance and defence of their property, and in the prosecution of their lawful and meritorious callings, in the full persuasion that due watchfulness and resolution, exhibited in the first instance on their own part, will, as has been proved by recent experience, most effectually prevent or repel such unlawful aggressions. And we do, further, in the name and on the behalf of his majesty, charge and command all sheriffs, justices of the peace, mayors, bailiffs, constables and other civil officers, to continue their utmost vigilance and activity for the preservation of peace and good order, the prevention of nightly and other unlawful meetings of ill-designing and wicked men, and for the defence of his majesty's peaceable and industrious subjects from the secret machinations and open attacks of the violators of private property, and the disturbers of the public tranquillity: trusting, as we do, that by the constant and active exertions of all well-disposed men, the misguided may be reclaimed, and the mischievous kept in awe, without the necessity of recurring to the chastisements of the law, which it will be our duty, as guardian of the general peace and prosperity of the realm, strictly to enforce, if unhappily the renewal of such atrocities, as we have lately had to deplore, should again call for the infliction of just and exemplary punishment.

Given at the Court at Carlton House, this first day of February 1813, in the 53rd year of His Majesty's reign.

GOD Save The KING.

This is from Howell (1823, p.1167).

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