Monday, 16 May 2016

16th May 1816: Bureaucrats in Hinckley, Leicestershire, write to the Home Secretary about destitute & unemployed framework-knitters

My Lord,

Impelled solely by Sense of Duty, we beg leave to state to your lordship the alarming situation of the Inhabitants of the Town of Hinckley, from the unprecedented, depressed condition of the Trade & Manufactures – We believe that almost One Half the Frame-Work-Knitters & other Mechanics are, at this time, out of their usual Employ—; & that, very shortly, the other Half will be in the same dreadful Situation — The Manufacturers have already exhausted their Capital, & nearly their Credit, in the Stock of goods, they have now on hand; & for which they can find no market.—

During the last Month, we have employed, on account of the Parish, many [Nearly 200—]of the very poorest of the People; who, had we not resorted to this expedient, must have been taken into the Workhouse. And the Number applying every day for Work, or Support, from the Parish, is constantly increasing — But our Means of assisting them are wholly inadequate — The Landholders & the Occupiers of Houses cannot be able, much longer, to meet the heavy & unparalleled demands, which will be made upon them. But, my Lord, this is but a Small Part of the Evils which threaten us — For a great Proportion of those Families, who have hitherto contributed to our Parochial Payments; being thrown out of Employment, must, instead of aiding, become a burden upon the Parish

We feel a Pleasure in informing your lordship, that the Conduct of the Lower Orders of the People of this Place, has been peaceable & exemplary — But it is an alarming & appalling Circumstance, that we cannot walk the Streets without Seeing Numbers of Vigorous & Active young Men, (many of whom have been lately discharge from their Country’s Service), who are totally destitute of Work, without the means of Support. The frightful Consequences of which we need not point out to your Lordship —

Having honestly stated to your lordship the present & probable future Situation of this Town, we leave it your superior wisdom, to furnish us with such advice, & direction, as the awful crisis may seem to you to demand.

We have the Honour to be My Lord, your Lordship’s most very Obedient, & Humble Servants.—

John Blakeley   Visitor—

James Payne
Samuel Goode   Guardians—

John Ward
Wm. Haddon   Churchwardens—

Joseph Bassford
Wm Metham   Overseers of the Poor—

Hinckley May – 16 - — 1816 —

To The Right Honble Viscount Sidmouth, His Majesty’s Secretary of the Home Department &c &c &c —

This letter can be found at HO 42/150.

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