Thursday, 7 February 2013

7th February 1813: The West Riding magistrate, Joseph Scott, writes to the Home Office about the Oath of Allegiance

Woodsome Feby 7th 1813


The Subject of this Letter is not, perhaps, of Importance enough to warrant a direct communication to Lord Sidmouth; yet I think that it may be gratifying to his Lordship and H.M’s Government to know that a considerable number of those deluded Persons, who have been engaged in Outrages in this Neighbourhood, have come to me, within the Course of the last Fortnight, for the purpose of taking the Oath of Allegiance to his Majesty.

It appears, from the Confessions of these people, that not one of them has taken that abominable Oath, which has been [jointly] generally used on the Borders of Lancashire and Cheshire, (termed twisting in) nor have they entered into any Engagement of a similar nature; I am disposed to give full Credit to this, for they have all been very communicative in their Accounts of nightly Expeditions to break Shearing=Frames.—Now it appears that the Benefit of the Prince Regent's Proclamation extends only to Cases of unlawful Oaths and the stealing of Arms, and, from the Circumstance, I have felt great Doubt, as to the propriety of administering the Oath of Allegiance to such as have been concerned in the Destruction of Machinery only: The Expressions of Contrition, however, have been such, as to induce me not to refuse giving the Oath of Allegiance in any Case; and I trust that in having done so, under such Circumstances, I shall be considered as having acted in Conformity to the mild Spirit of H:R:H’s Proclamation, altho it does appear that the Cases of Shear=breaking does not come within the strict Letter of it.—If I have erred in this Respect, I shall be glad to receive Instructions for my future proceedings.—

I have [etc]
Jos. Scott

[To] John Beckett Esqr
&c &c

This letter can be found at HO 42/132.

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