Friday, 7 August 2015

7th August 1815: The Leeds Intelligencer gloats over the verdict of the Charles Sutton trial

On Monday 7th August, the Tory Leeds Intelligencer published an editorial about the recent trial of the proprietor of the Nottingham Review, Charles Sutton. It was the first of several that would appear over the coming weeks:

At Nottingham Assizes, Mr. Sutton, proprietor and editor of the Nottingham Review (the Luddite and Buonapartean Mercury of that town), has been found guilty of a libel, the intention and tendency of which were to insult his Majesty's Government, to traduce and vilify our gallant army which beat the Americans into peace: to depreciate the services of them and their late lamented leader, General Ross, whom it characterised as the younger Ned Ludd; and to vindicate and encourage that Luddite spirit of outrage and insubordination which still exists in Nottingham, and the effects of which we have had so much reason to deploy in this county. As the trial will be published at length by order of Government, we shall not occupy space with extracts from the garbled report of it sent forth by Mr. Sutton and some of his jacobin fellow-feeling contemporaries. We think his conviction the most powerful blow that Luddism could have received. There can be no doubt but that dangerous and disgraceful spirit was the offspring of one or two wicked and delusive publications, and that it was fostered, and trained to every deed of outrage and assassination, by the most artful palliations and incentives. If the conviction of Mr. Sutton, therefore, should render him and his coadjutors more guarded in their language, it will do more towards preventing outrage than could be hoped for from the operation of the most severe penal laws upon the offenders. Though found guilty of a libel of so foul a character, Mr. Sutton affects to be surprised that the article for which he has been tried should have called for a prosecution, and with all the hypocritical cant and puritanical affectation of innocence and simplicity for which the Party are remarkable, represents his own trial as one of the most oppressive, unnecessary, and extraordinary upon record. But we remember, and we beg to remind Mr. Sutton and the public of the fact, that he publicly acknowledged, in the number of his paper succeeding that which contained the libel—that he then publicly acknowledged this very article had given DISGUST to his own friends!!! and if it was so flagrantly wicked and inflammatory as to disgust them, he cannot be surprised that it excited the resentment of good men, and demanded just chastisement from those laws upon which he had so long trampled with impunity, and at length arrested the attention of that Government, which had hitherto treated with contempt his incessant but futile attempts to insult and [amuse] it. We shall resume this subject at a future opportunity.

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