Saturday 28 December 2013

28th December 1813: The Duke of Montrose writes to Francis Raynes about remuneration

In late December 1813, Captain Francis Raynes was still corresponding with the hope of obtaining some kind of remuneration from government. His commander-in-chief took over a month to respond to this letter of November:

I was answered through the Lieutenant-Colonel, that £200. would be allowed me; and, in the course of a post, received a receipt to sign, which I fancied might be construed into this sum having been given as a final remuneration, instead of an allowance for the expenses I had been at.—I accordingly wrote to the Duke of Montrose, asking if it might not be so interpreted: the answer I had the honor to receive is annexed.
London, 28th Dec. 1813.


I was nearly answering your letter, that the £200. Could not be considered as a final remuneration; but I thought it better to write to Lord Sidmouth, who answers that he is sorry that such a supposition should have been excited. He regrets the difficultly in finding the means of further remuneration; but will endeavour to surmount it with  as little delay as possible. I return the receipt, that you may obtain the money without delay. Lord Sidmouth’s answer to me was missent, which has occasioned delay, as I have but just received his letter, which is dated the 24th instant. I remain, with esteem, Sir,

Your obedient Servant,


Friday 20 December 2013

20th December 1813: The 1813 Frame-Breaking Act

An Act to repeal an Act of the Fifty Second Year of His present Majesty, for the Punishment of Persons destroying Stocking or Lace Frames, or any Articles in such Frames, and to make other Provisions instead thereof.
[20th December 1813.]

Whereas an Act was passed in the Fifty Second Year of His present Majesty's Reign, intituled An Act for the more exemplary Punishment of Persons destroying or injuring any Stocking or Lace Frames, or other Machines or Engines used its the Framework Knitted Manufactory, or any Articles or Goods in such Frames or Machines; to continue in force until the First Day of March One thousand eight hundred and fourteen: And Whereas it is expedient that the said Act should be repealed and other Provisions made instead thereof; Be it therefore enacted by The King's Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same, That, from and after the passing of this Act, the said recited Act shall be repealed, and the same is hereby repealed, save and except as to any thing done before the passing of this Act, with respect to which the said Act shall remain and be in full Force and Effect as if this Act had not been made.

II. And be it further enacted, That, from and after the passing of this Act, if any Person or Persons shall, by Day or by Night, enter by Force into any House, Shop or Place, with an Intent to cut or destroy any Framework Knitted Pieces, Stocking or Lace, or other Articles or Goods, being in the Frame or upon any Machine or Engine thereto annexed, or therewith to be used or prepared for that purpose, or with an Intent to break or destroy any Frame, Machine, Engine, Tool, Instrument or Utensil, used in and for the working and making of any such Framework Knitted Pieces, Stockings, Lace or other Articles or Goods in the Hosiery or Framework Knitted Manufactory, or shall wilfully or maliciously, and without having the Consent or Authority of the Owner, destroy or cut with an Intent to destroy or render useless any Framework Knitted Pieces, Stockings, Lace or other Articles or Goods, being in the Frame or upon any Machine or Engine as aforesaid, or prepared for that Purpose, or shall wilfully and maliciously, and without having the Consent or Authority of the Owner, break, destroy or damage with an Intent to destroy or render useless, any Frame, Machine, Engine, Tool, Instrument or Utensil, used in and for the working and making of any such Framework Knitted Pieces, Stockings, Lace or other Articles or Goods in the Hosiery or Framework Knitted Stocking, or Framework Lace Manufactory; or shall wilfully and maliciously, and without having the Consent or Authority of the Owner, break or destroy any Machinery contained in any Mill or Mills used or any way employed in preparing or Spinning of Wool or Cotton, or Other Materials for the Use of the Stocking or Lace Manufactory; every Offender being thereof lawfully convicted shall be adjudged guilty of Felony, and shall be transported for Life, or for such Term of Years not less than Seven Years, as the Judge before whom such Offender shall be tried in his Discretion shall adjudge and direct.

III. And be it further enacted, That this Act may be altered, amended or repealed by any Act or Acts to be passed in this Session of Parliament.

54. Geo. 3. Cap. 42

Tuesday 17 December 2013

17th December 1813: Lancelot Bellas writes to the Home Secretary for the third time about the spy, Joseph Taylor

Marsden Decr 17th 1813

My Lord

In Your Letter dated the 11th of October [last], you referred me to Mr. Lloyd respecting the Advances which have been paid to Taylor &c by him and Mr. Allison.

At that time I was indisposed, and consequently neither wrote to, nor waited on Mr. Lloyd – Since then I have received a Certificate from him, a true Copy of which I beg leave to insert for Your Lordships Inspection—

"I certify that the Bearer Joseph Taylor has not specifically received any Sum of money by way of reward from the Government or any others to my Knowledge for his Services in the disturbed Counties

J Lloyd Solr

Stockport 7th Decr. 1813."
My Lord it appears evidently from the above, that all that Taylor has received just covers his Expences, and those who employed in this arduous Enterprize and that no Remuneration has ever been made him from any Quarter for the loss of his Time and those undaunted and signal Services which he performed at the Risk of his Life for the Restoration of Tranquility &c not only in this County but in several parts of Lancashire.

My Lord. I am sorry to observe, that this Business has for sometime been veiled in a State of Obscurity, and hid from your Lordships Eye—But now it is made manifest; and I have not a Doubt from Your Lordships Integrity and uprightness in transacting the Officers of this great Nation, that you will immediately Order Taylor to be recompensed for those great Services which he has performed, and for which he has not been requited.

In humble Expectation, of receiving Your Lordships favourable Answer I beg Leave to subscribe myself on the other side

Your Lordships most faithful and
obedient Servant

Lancelot Bellas

[To Lord Sidmouth]

Monday 16 December 2013

16th December 1813: Colonel Fletcher sends a report and a claim for expenses to the Home Office

Bolton 16th December 1813

Dear Sir

So very little has occurred amongst the Seditious for these several months last past, deserving of any particular Notice, that I have not thought it necessary to forward any of the reports of the persons employed. The Jacobin Leaders, during the prosperous State of affairs, with which it hath pleased the Almighty to bless this Country, cannot find many followers, nor dare they now, (as, during Bonaparte's Career of Conquest, they used to do) openly express their malevolent Sentiments against their Country and its Government, for Fear of their immediate Chastisement, which would be likely to follow from the Hands of that order of men (the lowest) which in some Instances, they had before too successfully cajoled.

In Conversation with the persons employed, they confess, that the prosperous State of the Trade, enabling men, with common Industry, to earn a comfortable Subsistence for themselves and their Families, has considerably diminished their Hopes of Revolution, which yet, however, they affect to think will ultimately be accomplished, by the Catholics of Ireland. Indeed, whilst Bonaparte shall remain in Power, so long there will be Danger from his machinations, and particularly, in that Quarter of the United Kingdom.

In this part manufacturing part of Lancashire there is reason to apprehend that the mischievous Activity of the seditious will be principally exerted in promoting Turn Outs (what in Town you call Striking’s) for a further advance of Wages, in different Branches of the Manufactures. In matters of this Sort, men of this Description, generally take the Lead, thereby keeping up some consequence with the working manufacturers, who are but too prone to request those Persons as Benefactors, who even pretend to procure for them more Wages for their Labour.

B. has been informed by one John Green, a resident in Town, that a Committee frequently meets at the Fox & Goose, King Street, Seven Dials, and that this Committee corresponds with the Hampden Club, and various other Societies in different parts of the united Kingdom.

The money have advanced to the persons employed, from May 11th (to which period, my Accounts as per my Letter of 27 May, extended) to 13th December instant, is as under

L.F.    Time & Expences 31 Weeks 26.7.0
T        Time & Expences 31 Weeks 6.15.0
B        Time & Expences 31 Weeks 46.13.0

Adjt Warr    Time & Expences same period 27.06.0
A B              Time & Expences same period 24.06.3
S. Senr         Time & Expences same period 4.7.6
S Junr           Time & Expences same period 4.4.0
Incidental Expences                                       2.4.6

Total            £ 142.3.3

Four which Sum 142.3.3 I have taken the Liberty to draw upon you at Seven days Sight, payable to Mr Abraham Winterbottom.

I beg to return you my thanks for your kind attention, in sending me the Gazette Extraordinary of the glorious Victories obtained both by the Arms of His Majesty and those of His Allies. May Heaven continue to bless their Efforts, untill the dreadful Tyranny, founded on the Infidel Revolution of France shall fall to rise no more.

You will probably have seen the offer of the Bolton Regiment of Local militia under my Command, to extend its Services, according to the Bill (then pending) since passed into a Law. This was addressed to Lord Castlereagh, as the mover of the measure, and his Lordship has very politely returned his Thanks, observing at the same Time, that he will hand the Offer to Lord Viscount Sidmouth

with great Sincerity
I have [etc]
Ra: Fletcher

[To] John Beckett Esqr

16th December 1813: The Stockport solicitor, John Lloyd, sends details of a case of seditious language to the Home Office

Stockport 16th Decr 1813


I have the honor to transmit to you copies of Informations taken against a man of the name of George Bowring some little time ago respecting some seditious Expressions uttered by him at a public house in this Town, and which, owing to the presence of military characters, it cou’d not and ought not to be overlooked.

He was consequently taken up under a Warrant obtained from the revd. C. Prescot, our resident magistrate, who directed him to find Bail – and not being able to do so, he was committed to Chester Castle where he now remains; and, if you direct it, may be indicted at the next Assizes, or required by the may consent in court to enter into Recognizance for his future good behaviour, but certainly some notice must be taken and the reasons I have stated.

I was aware it wou’d be required of me to state further circumstances for you to form your Judgement upon, and I have therefore made such enquiries, as struck me to be necessary.

Bowring followed the Trade of a master Butcher in a small way, at a populous village in Derbyshire called New Mills 8 miles from this Town — a place notorious for profligacy of manners and formerly for disaffection to the Government. (but which latter I shod hope cannot generally now prevail even there.)—I have been informed he has been in the habit of drinking the Toast charged agt him altho’ he has been cautioned & warned of the impropriety & the consequences—It seems he had hitherto been encouraged by the impunity—He has a Brother, keeping a public house here who refused to bail him He (the Prisr) is not a very drunken man—but was somewhat in liquor at the time he uttered the words—however he was at that time cautioned by those present that anticipated the words of the intended Toast to be seditious; and upon the whole I have found that he is an object for chastisement — and shod the great Government Law Officers not recommend the prosecution at the public expence I will take some steps to keep him under alarm, till with a view to his being placed under a Recognizance at least. I have the honor

to remain Sir
Your very obedt & hb Sert
J Lloyd

[To] J Beckett Esq
&c &c

Tuesday 10 December 2013

10th December 1813: The Frame-Breaking Bill reaches the House of Lords

On Friday 10th December 1813, the Frame-Breaking Bill reached the House of Lords:

The House resolved itself into a committee, on the Frame-breaking Bill.

Lord Holland: observed upon the absurdity of the wording of the Bill, which stated. "that whereas it is expedient to amend and render perpetual the said Act (the former Act), be it therefore enacted, that all the provisions of the said Act shall cease and determine."

Lord Redesdale: proposed amendments to obviate this incongruity, by inserting words to the effect, that the former Act should be repealed, and other provisions substituted in lieu thereof.

These amendments having been agreed to,

Lord Holland: expressed his satisfaction at the repeal of the former Act, and that ministers had found it effectual in putting down the evil. That it had been so effectual, however, was owing, to the activity, the intelligence, and zeal, of the corporation of the town of Nottingham, He mentioned this, because it would be recollected, that some time since a Bill passed the three branches of the legislature, for depriving that corporation, to a considerable extent (unjustly, as he contended), of their corporate 276 rights; and if that subject should again come under the consideration of the legislature; he trusted the observations he had now made would be borne in the memory of their lordships.

The Bill passed through the committee, with the amendments.

The 1812 Act was now repealed, being replaced by the new Act, which achieved Royal Assent on Monday 20th December 1812, before Parliament was adjourned on the same day.

Sunday 8 December 2013

8th December 1813: The Frame-Breaking Bill is read in the House of Commons for the final time

On Wednesday, the Frame-Breaking Bill was read for the final time in the House of Commons:

The Attorney General moved the third reading of this Bill. 

Sir S. Romilly: stated, that an Act of the 28th of the King, making the same offence, or nearly the same offence, felony, was already on the statute book; and asked whether there was any intention to repeal that Act on passing the present? 

The Attorney General: said, the same objection might have been urged last year to the temporary measure, which was then made to the permanent one. He had no objection to the repeal of the former Act, which he believed, however, was not the same as the present. 

A Member, whose name we could not learn, said, that in the case of the King v. Cator, where the offence was seducing artificers out of the country, it had been decided that a subsequent Act against any offence virtually repealed a former one. 

Sir S. Romilly: thought that this might be true, where the offence was altered from a misdemeanour into a felony; but not where a more severe punishment was demanded against the same description of offence. 

The last speaker replied, that the case he had alluded to was of this description. The punishment had before been 100l. fine, which was increased to 500l.—The Bill then passed.

Friday 6 December 2013

6th December 1813: The Frame-Breaking Bill is discussed again in the House of Commons

On Monday 6th December 1813, the Frame-Breaking Bill was discussed once again in the House of Commons:

On the farther consideration of the report,

Sir S. Romilly: was sorry that the learned and hon. gentleman persisted in this Bill, for which there appeared to be no existing necessity. The conspiracies and disturbances which had occasioned its passing into a law had ceased; and it seemed a strong measure in legislation to make that felony, for which, as a simple act, no legal punishment had, he believed, before existed. The sentence for this offence was to be transportation for life. Now, whatever reasons there might be for preferring transportation for life to transportation for a limited time, in cases of habitual depravity, they could not apply to the present crime, which was the effect of ignorance and momentary delusion. As an instance of the loose and incorrect manner in which the Bill was drawn, sir S. Romilly observed, that the punishment was denounced against all those who entered a dwelling-house with intent to break frames, either by day or by night. How they could enter it, except by day or by night, he was at a loss to conceive.

The Attorney General: said, that though the judges could not themselves avoid pronouncing the sentence of the law in cases of felony, yet they could recommend the prisoner to the clemency of the crown, as was always done where there were circumstances of mitigation. He had no objection, however, to have the punishment altered from transportation for life to transportation for a term of years not exceeding fourteen, nor less than seven years. He thought the crime was punishable by law before the present Bill—not simply, but as an act of conspiracy. The learned gentleman then made a distinction between the idle or mischievous apprentice who should merely break his master's frames, who would not be punished, and the apprentice combining for the same purpose with the Luddites, who would be amenable to the law.

Mr. Horner: said, he believed no other person in the House had misunderstood his learned and hon. friend in the same degree as the learned and hon. gentleman who spoke last. He had totally misconceived, not only his expressions, but the whole scope of his argument. He had represented him as palliating the crime of the Luddites. No such thing. He had merely stated that it was a crime arising out of temporary circumstances and temporary irritation, and which might be effectually prevented by temporary punishment. As to the distinction between the idle apprentice, acting wantonly in violation of the law, or in concert with the Luddites, there was no such distinction laid down in the Bill. The question respecting the punishment to be inflicted by the Bill became the more important from the nature of the general doctrine on which it had been supported by his Majesty's Attorney General. The specific punishment denounced by the Bill was transportation for life. But the hon. and learned gentleman contended that the diminution of their punishment would be at the discretion of the judge. The House knew but too well the practice that had prevailed on this subject. The recent discussions on the proposed repeal of some of the old statutes had put them in possession of it. In the times when those statutes were passed, a more extended discretion might be necessary; but was it to be endured, when passing a new penal law, that parliament should be told, "Make the punishment as severe as you can; the judges will take care that it shall seldom be inflicted?" He had always thought that it was the peculiar praise of the British law, possessing as we did judges of great wisdom and unimpeached integrity—that, nevertheless, their discretion in cases of a criminal nature should be narrowed as much as possible. In the best works on jurisprudence it had always been laid down as a principle, that although the quantum of punishment might sometimes be left to the discretion of the judges, the description of it should always be regulated by the law. By contending that the mercy of the court would be so frequently exercised as seldom or ever to expose the offender to the highest punishment of the Bill, the hon. and learned gentleman substituted the exception for the general rule. The prerogative of mercy ought to be applied only to cases of rare occurrence; but, according to the argument of the hon. and learned gentleman, it should be put constantly in action.

The Attorney General: explained. What he had said with respect to apprentices was, that if an idle apprentice wantonly destroyed the frames of his master, he would not come within the operation of the Act; but that if he wickedly and maliciously did so, either alone or in concert with others, he would be subject to its punishments.

Mr. Bathurst: supported the necessity of enacting a severe punishment to prevent the recurrence of scenes, the terror attendant on which in the neighbourhood in which they had occurred was much greater than that occasioned in London and its neighbourhood by the riots of 1780. The question was, whether or not it was fitting that such a law as that before the House should be on the statute-book? The decided opinion was that it was fitting. He trusted there would be no occasion for its exercise; but if, unfortunately, there should, it was more likely to call for the utmost severity of the law than for its utmost mitigation. The capital punishment was gone from the Bill; and the least that could be substituted was the punishment of transportation for life; and under circumstances in which the gradation of crime must be so extensive, the judge ought to have the power of inflicting the highest punishment on the most atrocious offenders, and of obtaining a milder punishment for those whose guilt was not so extreme.

Mr. J. Smith: expressed his great satisfaction at the abolition in the Bill of the punishment of death. He was fully convinced that it had deterred many persons from prosecuting offenders. Nor would this be surprising, when it was considered that many of those offenders were boys and girls of 16 or 17 years of age. He confessed that he wished the term of transportation had been limited to seven years. However, he preferred adopting the Bill as it stood, to leaving such valuable property as the lace frames unprotected; he declared, that the right hon. gentleman who had just spoken, had by no means overstated the terror and dismay which, at the time of the disturbances, had spread over the counties in which those disturbances had occurred; and he trusted, that the measure now in progress would prevent any repetition of such outrages.

Mr. Abercrombie: observed, that the object of his hon. and learned friend's proposition to postpone for six months any further proceedings on this Bill, was by no means to leave the property of the lace manufacturers unprotected, but to give time for a more ample consideration than they had hitherto received of two most important questions in the Bill; namely, the quantum of punishment, and the description of the offence. He protested against the doctrines of the hon. and learned gentleman opposite (the Attorney General), which he confessed appeared to him to involve the most severe censure on the existing laws of the country that had ever been uttered within those walls. That hon. and learned gentleman had contended, that no person ought to be transported save for life. If so, where was the justice of annually sending, as we did, so many persons to New South Wales, for seven and fourteen years? Adverting to the condition of that colony, he felt happy, from the inquiries which he had been enabled to make in the committee on the subject, and from other sources, to bear testimony to the progress of that colony in improvement, and to the vigilant attention of government with respect to it. The result of all his examinations was, that the two great purposes of the prosperity of the colony, and the improvement in morals of the inhabitants, were commensurate. This fact afforded an argument against the hon. and learned gentleman, who wished that all transportation should be for life, because, as he contended, in cases of transportation for a limited period, the individuals so transported were restless and unhappy; nothing but the exclusion of all hope of a return to their native country being able to reconcile them to their exile. To the description of offence contained in the Bill he had great objection. The original cause of the measure was the combination of offenders, and to combination alone ought the punishment to apply.

Mr. Serjeant Best: denied that his hon. and learned friend (the Attorney General) had said that transportation ought in all cases to be for life. What he had maintained was, that unless the hon. and learned gentleman opposite could show that no offence of the kind described in the Bill could by possibility occur, to which the punishment of transportation for life ought to be applied, that punishment ought to be left as the highest punishment in the power of the judge to inflict, leaving it to his discretion and that of the executive government, in other cases, to reduce the quantum of punishment in proportion to the diminution of the guilt. It had been contended, that the crime described in the Bill ought not to be made a felony, because it was not so immoral an act as the acts which were usually termed felonious. For his part, he could not conceive any act much more immoral than a malicious destruction of the property of others. There were other acts not more atrocious in their character comprehended among felonies. To destroy a turnpike was a felony. With respect to the discretion to be vested in the judge, he maintained that it was not too great. The judge was obliged to pass a particular sentence; transportation for life. But no bad consequence would thence result to the individual, if there had been any favourable circumstances in his conduct; because a representation of those circumstances to the executive authority, would reduce the quantum of punishment. He did not understand, however, that his hon. and learned friend would object to the introduction in the Bill of a clause, giving to the judge, instead of to the executive authority, that discretion, if such a clause would satisfy the hon. and learned gentleman opposite. He would like to know what view the hon. and learned gentlemen opposite took of the crime? Some punishment they would undoubtedly affix to its perpetration. Would that punishment be transportation for seven years? Why in that case, and if that punishment, on the principles of the hon. and learned gentleman, were to be inflicted indiscriminately on all offenders, by far the greater part of them would be in a much worse situation than under the inflictions of the Bill as it stood. He confessed that he, for one, should have been better pleased had the capital punishment not been abolished in the Bill: not, he trusted, because he had any disposition capitally to punish, but because he was persuaded that, had it been retained, it would have operated not cruelly, but mercifully, by deterring from the commission of the crime; and by preventing the recurrence of those disturbances which had separated so many individuals from their friends, and deprived their native country of their services. As to the question respecting combination, to require that proof should be given of the existence of a combination, would be to make the Bill comparatively inoperative. All that it was necessary to prove was, that the offender acted maliciously.

Mr. H. Addington: argued against the substitution of the punishment of transportation for seven years for the punishment of transportation for life.

The Amendment was then negatived without a division, and the report was taken into consideration.

The Attorney General: proposed an amendment to the clause comprehending the punishment—namely, after the words that "the offender should be transported for life," to add the following, "or for such a term of years, not less than seven, as the judge before whom he may be tried shall think fit to pronounce."

Mr. Horner: declared that it was not in conformity to his opinion that this clause was proposed. He objected to a discretion so large being vested in the judge. It was true, that transportation for life seemed to him to be an unsuitable punishment for the offence described in the Bill; but if it were deemed by parliament suitable, he would much rather it should be absolute, than that the judge should possess such an extensive discretion as the amendment proposed by the hon. and learned gentleman went to give him. If it were not irregular to move an amendment on an amendment, he would move to leave out all the words of the clause after the words "the offender shall be transported," for the purpose of substituting the following, "for a term not exceeding fourteen years, or less than seven."

The Attorney General: repeated his objections to striking the punishment of transportation for life out of the Bill. If no case could exist in which a greater punishment than transportation for 14 years ought to be inflicted, he would adopt the proposition of the hon. and learned gentleman. Besides, that which was called transportation for life, was not, as it had been in the infancy of the colony of New South Wales, actually so; of this there were many instances. One of a very recent occurrence, in which the inhabitants of Cambridge had been thrown into great astonishment by the re-appearance of a person who some years ago had been transported from that place for life. On investigation, however, it appeared that he had conducted himself in a manner so exemplary, that the governor of the colony had exercised the power which he possessed, of granting him a free pardon.

Mr. Lockhart: thought, that when there must necessarily be so many shades of guilt, discretion was indispensable to the judge.

The Amendment proposed by Mr. Horner was then negatived, and the original Amendment proposed by the Attorney General adopted.

Several other amendments of an unimportant nature were introduced, and the Bill was ordered to be read a third time on Wednesday.

Tuesday 3 December 2013

3rd December 1813: The Frame-breaking Bill is debated in the House of Commons again

On Friday 3rd December 1813, the proposal to extend the Frame-breaking Act via a new Bill was debated in the House of Commons again:

On Mr. H. Addington's moving the committal of this Bill,

The Attorney General: expressed his wish to state to the House his ideas on a subject which had created a great diversity of opinion. He then adverted to the circumstances of the times in which that law was passed, and to the peculiar situation of the districts which had rendered that law necessary. If, by the salutary terror it had created, order had been re-established, they certainly had obtained an invaluable blessing at a comparatively trifling inconvenience. The present state of Europe, too, added to the operation of that law, had so contributed to restore order and perfect tranquillity, that should the Bill be now for the first time introduced, no man could think it necessary. But where a law, after effecting so much good, was attended with no inconvenience to any one, and held only terror to the guilty, it was certainly a harmless experiment to continue it for some time longer; always recollecting, that what had once come to pass might happen again. But as some hon. and learned gentlemen, and especially an hon. and learned friend of his, sir S. Romilly, whose suggestions were always entitled to the greatest deference, had expressed great objection to the offence of frame-breaking being made a capital felony, he intended to propose to the committee to enact a less severe punishment, and, at the same time, to make the Act permanent on the Statute-book, for the preservation of manufacturing property. The Act to which his hon. and learned friend had principally alluded, and which he wished to substitute for the present Bill, was an Act of the 28th of his present Majesty, by which the breaking up of manufacturing frames was punishable by no less than seven, nor more than fourteen years transportation. His intention, in the present instance was, to make the offence punishable by transportation for life. His principal reason was, that from the best sources of information he had been able to command, he had learnt that convicts for life were much more tractable, and made much better members of society, than those transported for a term of years: the first expecting no alleviation from a fate which was to last for life, but in their good conduct, by which they were soon admitted as settlers in the colony; whereas the others, always impatient under a restraint which they considered as temporary, sighed only in the bitterness and exasperation of disappointment, for the moment which was to bring them back to the scene of their former wickedness. He also wished, that, in mitigated cases, the judges might be authorised to recommend the culprit to a less punishment; or, in fact, if it was preferred, he had no objection to leave the period of transportation to the discretion of the judge. Another clause of the former Act which he would propose to repeal was, that which made it incumbent on persons injured to prosecute, under the penalties of a misdemeanor. But this was intended at the time to protect prosecutors from private revenge, by seeming to compel them to come forward. He did not think that the state of the country required such a strong measure; and he would leave the prosecutor, in this particular case, in the same situation in which he stood by law for every other offence.

Sir S. Romilly: thought there was some objection against proceeding in the way recommended by the right hon. gentleman (the Attorney General). It was proposed to continue a law which had been originally introduced as a mere temporary measure, and to keep the terror of that law still in existence, though no occasion for such terror existed. The nature of the original measure would be entirely altered by thus making it permanent. In his opinion, it would be much better to drop the Bill altogether, and bring in a new one. The present Bill had reference merely to stocking and lace-frames. The machinery used in cloth and other manufactures were not at all protected by it; and yet there was no reason why they should not be protected as well as the others—they came under the very same principle. It was a very momentous question, that should not be decided in so hasty a way. With respect to what the right hon. gentleman (the Attorney General) had said on the subject of Botany Bay, there was an important difference of opinion upon that point. The opinion of a gentleman who had been many years governor of Botany Bay was quite contrary. The opinion of that gentleman was, that the persons transported for life were the most desperate and the most incorrigible of the whole colony. They were the very worst there; and the reason he assigned was, because they considered their case desperate; and for that reason they had laid aside all thought of amendment, and corrupted the rest of the prisoners. The report of the committee which had sat upon this subject should be taken into mature consideration. The number of persons likely to suffer under this Bill was extremely small. There seemed to be no necessity for the Bill, but certainly none for making that permanent which was originally temporary, and changing entirely the nature of the punishment. When it was stated the other day in the House, that the Bill might possibly have such an operation, as to subject to death an apprentice for injuring the frames of his master, a worthy alderman said it was monstrous and incredible that such a Bill could have passed the House. Yet the Bill did pass the House, and that worthy alderman himself voted for it. It would be easy to alter the words of the Act in such a manner as not to comprehend cases like that of the apprentice. Every thing said by the right hon. gentleman went upon general principles, and yet the Bill was to be confined to a particular Act. The inconvenience in bringing in another Bill would be, that some delay might arise; during that delay, however, the Bill before in existence would be sufficient for the protection of frames.

The motion was agreed to, and the House having resolved into the committee,

Mr. Homer: said, that he should wait to see how this Bill came out of the committee before he made any further observation upon it.

Mr. Eden: stated, from his experience in the committee respecting transportation to Botany Bay, that evidence appeared directly contradictory to the statement of the learned gentlemen, respecting the comparative conduct of the several classes of transports. According to that evidence, indeed, the persons transported for limited periods were very often reformed while those transported for life generally continued depraved and desperate. The hon. gentleman concluded, with expressing a wish that government would attend to the suggestion of the committee alluded to, with respect to the improvement of the civil and criminal courts.

The Attorney General: said, that the subject last referred to by the hon. gentleman, was under the consideration of government; and that papers were before him (Mr. G.) respecting those courts, which would have been decided upon before now, if he had not wanted that assistance which a recent appointment had happily afforded him [alluding, we suppose, to Mr. Serjeant Shepherd's appointment as Solicitor General].

Mr. J. Smith: expressed his satisfaction with the change which was proposed to be made in the measure under consideration; and he had no doubt that in consequence of that change it would prove more effectual for its object than the measure to which it was to succeed.

The Attorney General's proposition was agreed to, the House resumed, the report was received, and ordered to be farther considered on Monday next.