Monday, 11 September 2017

[11th] September 1817: Henry Enfield writes to the Home Office about striking Frameworkknitters in Nottinghamshire

Nottingham 10r. September 1817.

My Lord

The Magistrates wish me to make a Communication to Your Lordship of the present State of this Town & its neighbourhood.

During the last three days there have been a general Strike, or Turn-out, of the Frameworkknitters for an Advance of Wages―& vast numbers of them have Come into Nottingham from the adjacent Villages & Townships―It is reported that they have in some instances in the County used violence, & in very many instances Threats, to bring out those Frameworkknitters who were reluctant to join them―and, that there are two Committees sitting in Nottingham who are the directors of the present measures & supply the men with money for their immediate support. At present no Violence or actual Branch of the public peace has been Committed―the men walk about in Considerable numbers, & make their frequent Applications to the Hosiers―but the magistrates cannot expect this tranquil demeanour to be of long duration if the object which in view that continue ungained―& they have therefore taken, & will be constantly prepared with means to the utmost of their power for putting down any Commotion―

With respect to the question between the Frameworkknitters & their masters, the magistrates have not any power to interpose―& as Individuals they do not conceive that they have any right to become parties―Their duty is, as they conceive, to watch the public Peace & to preserve it―being ready, nevertheless, at all times to receive Complaints, & to enforce the Laws relating to Combinations &c.―It may happen that each [succeeding] Day will make the men more & more discontented, & the Committees more personal & threatening―this may become so overt as to call for the Interference of the magistracy without a complaint―but should this not occur, the magistrates are of opinion that they should not officially take any active step―They will be happy to receive from Lordship’s Sentiments upon this Subject―

Mr. Aldr. Morley has received the enclosed Letter from Mr. Parker of this Town, a manufacturer of first respectability―The magistrates cannot so satisfactorily dispose of the Letters as by transmitting it in the Dispatch for the Consideration of Your Lordship―

I have [etc]

H Enfield

Town Clerk

P.S. Sep. 11.

I beg to enclose your Lordship a Handbill―This handbill was carried about by the collectors of the Subscriptions to the Frameworkknitters Cause, & a Copy left with the Subscriber―Their collections were (& I believe are) by House-row―

H.E.

[To] The Right Honble Lord Sidmouth
Secretary of State &c &c &c

This letter can be found at HO 42/170.

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