Saturday, 12 January 2013

12th January 1813: William Cartwright reacts badly to a request to support a mercy plea for the condemned Luddites

York Jany 12th 1813


I have read with astonishment the petitions which you hand me.

It is impossible you can be ignorant of the conversation which passed with Mr. Wood. I cannot therefore with this feeling but express my Indignation that you shod attempt to foist upon me a Document which cou’d have no other effect than to [commit] my Character and in no degree benefit the Prisrs.

Can you reasonably think that the [ends] of Justice can be answered or the peace of the Country reestablished until the unhappy Prisoners either in their persons shall have intoned further crimes or by a full disclosure of their Guilt and all the circumstances connected with it shall entitle themselves to a hope that the Door of mercy may be opened to them

I can have none other than fulness of compassion for the unfortunate & misguided Men & I deplore as much as any man their Delusion but a sense of Duty only having guided me up to the present moment I cannot step out of that Line by interfering with the course of Justice until after the most satisfactory disclosure — you will then find be ready to aid you in the best manner I am able

I cannot enclosing this avoid sayg that the salvation of each of the Prisoners of his Innocence (after such a Trial as they had) was most ungracious and I do think the form of the present application indicates clearly enough a wish to affix upon me and odium as the prosecutor by a refusal to join in the petition which is unwarranted & to be reprobated

When such Circumstances may occur or may enable me to step forward as a Petitioner you will find me the foremost to address my humble prayers to his Roy Highness the mercy

I am
Your obt St
Wm Cartwright

I have Sent a Copy of this & the Petition to Mr Hobhouse who will hold it at yr Disposal

Mr Blackburn

This letter can be found at HO 42/132.

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