Wednesday, 7 December 2011

7th December 1811: Leeds Mercury Editorial

MILITARY coercion has not been so operative in Nottinghamshire as we were led last week to suppose. The depredations of the Frame-Breakers are still continued, and on one occasion they seem to have had a “method in their madness” that cannot fail to create alarm,—not that the Military may not be able to succeed in putting them down, but that much property will be destroyed, and many lives lost, before perfect tranquillity is restored. To what an alarming crisis is this country brought when its Military force, instead of being employed against our foreign enemies, is obliged to act, reluctantly indeed, against our own subjects, made blind and desperate by privation and want. Nor is the cause of this riotous disposition confined to Nottinghamshire―it exists in almost all the manufacturing districts of the kingdom, both in Woollens, Cottons and Iron, though Nottinghamshire, alone, is happily the only scene of popular outrage. And is it not well worth while to enquire how all this danger and suffering may be brought to an end? And if the men to whose incompetent hands the administration of the government of the country is unfortunately committed, are unable or unwilling to remedy the evil, does it not behove the People, particularly in the manufacturing and commercial counties, now Parliament is about to assemble, to exercise their constitutional right and meet and instruct their Representatives. Nor ought we to allow ourselves to be diverted from this course by fear of the calumnies of weak and corrupt men, who tell us that the riots in Nottinghamshire are owing to French Gold! and who, to conceal the true cause of the evil, will tell their shallow dupes any thing.—No; these riots owe not their rise and progress to the gold of Napoleon, but to the politics of PITT and his adherents; and so long as the system acted upon by that Minister, whose lofty spirit was subdued at the contemplation of the misery his ill-fated councils had produced, are pursued, we may be distressed, but we cannot be surprised either at disaster abroad or commotion at home.

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