Monday, 17 June 2013

17th June 1813: James Alan Park cautions the Home Office about cases brought by West Riding Manufacturers

Linc. Inn Fields, June 17th

My dear Sir,

I mentioned to you & the Lord Sidmouth, that I had presented certain cases from being brought on at the last Assizes at York, from a desire not to have the witnesses, who had given evidence, particularly the accomplices upon the Special Commission, again submitted unnecessarily to public inspection. I communicated this to Mr Baron Thomson, who highly approved of my motives. I had another inducement for my conduct, which I considered as highly connected with the public interest, namely, that in the discussion of these civil rights, it would appear, by the decision of the Judge, what cases fell within the riot act, & what did not: & how far rioters might go in the execution of their plans, without incurring the guilt of felony

It did It did not appear to me to be wise to have this too generally known, especially in the County of York. I therefore thought, that it was by no means an unwise proceeding to inform Government of these proceedings causes, before I permitted them to be tried, & as the sum sought to be recovered in all these cases is not large, humbly to suggest to his Majesty’s Secretary of State, whether it would not be wise to pay these monies, rather than have the matters discussed. Every one of the Sufferers has really been injured by the Riots, & all of them are well entitled to the merciful consideration of Government: although perhaps the same reasons, which operated upon my mind not to persevere in the prosecutions, might in strictness prevent them from recovering against the Governments Hundred. No harm can arise, because the precedent can never be drawn into any thing like a determination on the part of Government to relieve in similar cases.

The whole sum sought by all the Complainants is under £530—& if the remaining £170—making up £700. is Scattered amongst all of them to pay the Costs of the Defts which must be done, if the plaintiffs do not proceed, I think every one would be satisfied—& all the dangers I apprehend the discussion would be avoided. Or perhaps the Hundred would agree to let the causes drop without requiring Costs. However, if that is to be attempted it should be so, before Government are known to interfere. At all events, if His Majesty’s Secretary of State do not think proper to adopt my suggestion, I really think the parties ought to be put in status quo, as if I had not interposed: for the plaintiffs, who withdrew their records, on my suggestion, will have to pay Costs to the Dfts for having done so. I beg Lord Sidmouth’s earliest convenient attention to this business, as the Assizes are again approaching, & I remain, with much regard, Dear Sir,

Very faithfully Your’s
J A Park.

This letter can be found at HO 42/134.

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