Sunday, 17 March 2013

17th March 1813: Cases at the York Lent Assizes

The York Lent Assizes for 1813 concluded with sentencing on Wednesday 17th March, but by then, several cases connected with the Luddites had been before the Court.

Two teenagers from Huddersfield - Joseph Sykes, a 15 year-old cropper and John Thornton, a 14 year-old wool-sorter, had been accused of breaking into the house of Abraham Horsfall (most likely William Horsfall's father) in Huddersfield and stealing spirits and other articles. They were found Not Guilty.

Various manufacturers whose premises were attacked by Luddites had brought compensation claims against the local authority. The Leeds Intelligencer covered what happened:
Thirteen different actions were brought by manufacturers and others, against the Hundred or Wapentake of Agbrigg and Morley, to recover compensation for damages done to their machinery and buildings by the Luddites. The business was to have come on, on Tuesday, when Mr. Parke, counsel for the Plaintiffs, stated his objections to the court, against their proceeding. Five of the actions were ordered to stand over till the next assizes; and the records on the remaining eight were withdrawn, under the expectation that Government will make the requisite compensation to the sufferers.
Finally, a case left over from the York Special Commission was also heard. Again, the Leeds Intelligencer had the details:
James Starkie, who was held to bail, to appear at the present Assizes, on a charge of conspiring to affect the demolition of Rawfolds Mill, did not appear when called on. One of his bail said that Starkie had acted under the advice of his attorney.

Mr Parke said, the Defendant had been ill-advised; it was his duty to have appeared personally in Court to answer to this indictment, as it was impossible that he could know what course might have been adopted respecting him. But it was not his intention to insist upon his appearance. If the Defendant had been tried it late Special Assize, I should have thought it my duty, in the then state of the County, to have laid evidence before his Lordship and you on the subject; but, in consequence of the present happy and tranquil state of the County, the result of those severe but necessary examples which were made on a late occasion, I have determined to lay no evidence before you, and to consent to the acquittal of the Prisoner. And I hope this will be considered as a further proof that Government wish to do nothing oppressive to any of his Majesty's subjects, and that their only anxiety has been to restore tranquillity and good order.

The Jury of course acquitted the Prisoner.

The Leeds Intelligencer of 22nd March 1813 had the details of the Starkey and manufacturer's cases. The Leeds Mercury of 13th March 1813 had the details of the Horsfall case.

No comments:

Post a comment