Feb 17 1812: Second Reading of Frame Breaking Bill

On February 17, 1812, the Frame Breaking Bill to deal with Luddite disturbances came before the British House of Commons for a second reading. The first reading took place on February 14, 1812.  The legislation made machine or frame breaking capital offences. The debate of the House of Commons follows: 


HC Deb 17 February 1812 vol 21 cc826-41 826
Mr. Secretary Ryder having moved the second reading of the Bill for the more exemplary punishment of persons destroying or injuring any Stocking or Lace Frames, or other 827 machines or engines used in the Framework knitted manufactory, or any articles or goods in such Frames or Machines.

Mr. Abercromby declared, that in the present alarming situation of the county of Nottingham, he could have wished, instead of opposing, to have supported the measures of administration; but, after the most mature consideration, he felt it altogether impossible to concur in voting for this Bill. Every body felt the danger of a numerous body of men leagued together in active opposition to the laws of the country, and who had hitherto defeated both the civil and the military power. This danger was the more alarming from the connection between the county of Nottingham and other manufacturing districts of the country. But however strongly he, in common with others, felt this danger, he could not concur in the present Bill, without violating a most important principle in penal legislature—a principle which he had already had the good fortune more than once to join with a majority of the House in sanctioning. The mildest character of the present Bill was, that it would be ineffectual. They had been told that the riots had continued many months; that the local police had been aided by the efforts of the London police; that rewards had been offered for conviction; but that all the efforts of the civil power, joined to the allurements of profit, and the assistance of a military force, had been found completely ineffectual; and that with all this powerful array, not a single conviction had taken place under the existing law, which sentenced all framebreakers to transportation for 14 years. Now, if the House had been told that any individuals had been convicted, and punished with transportation, but that from the slightness of the punishment, the motives of the unfortunate persons had been found stronger than the dread of conviction, then he could conceive it might be proper to call upon the House for measures of greater severity. No such information, however, had been communicated to the House, and it was merely the state of impunity which they were called on to redress. The right hon. Secretary of State proposed for this purpose to make the offence capital. But how could this operate on persons in the situation of the unfortunate persons in question, among whom there had already been found to 828 prevail such an uncommon degree of union, concert, and good faith, if he might be allowed the expression, to one another, that not one of them had even yet been detected. If impunity was an evil, the effect of this severe penalty would only be to afford a greater security against any chance of punishment, because it would afford the rioters an additional motive for adhering closely together.—The hon. and learned gentleman then went into some illustrations respecting the different probabilities of conviction under pain of death and transportation, and concluded, that the former merely decreased the chance of it. The members for the county had not expressed any warm approbation of the measure of the right hon. Secretary; but they wished, they said, to agree to any measure which might have a chance of restoring tranquillity. But he would ask those gentlemen, how they could support a measure which would have the direct contrary effect to what they wished? After the body of information possessed by ministers on this subject, he thought the present Bill displayed a great poverty of invention. The distressed state of the country ought to make a deep impression on the House, and induce them to reconsider those measures which had plunged us into this dreadful situation. There were some effects arising from the decay of trade, which it was yet in the power of parliament to controul; and they might be assured, that while the cause of the evil remained in full force, all the remedies which they might apply would be found as unavailing as the prescriptions of a physician, directed merely to remove the outward symptoms of a disease, instead of communicating health and vigour to the whole system.

§Mr. Orde had no hesitation in declaring it to be his opinion, that the combination which existed among these misled people was so strong, that to break it effectually required measures of the utmost severity. He must support the Bill, on the ground that the terror of the punishment of death was indispensible on the present occasion.

§Mr. W. Herbert regretted that the House had been denied all previous enquiry on a measure which would go to affect the lives of so many of our fellow creatures. From all the partial information he had been able to collect, these disturbances owed their origin to two 829 causes,—the decrease of employment, and disputes between the workmen and their employers. There had been no proof, however, that the punishment of transportation was inadequate to prevent the offence; and in fact the only desideratum which the House had to attain, was the best means of discovering the persons engaged in these mischievous practices. To this the attention of parliament ought to be turned, and not to the addition of new capital punishments to the already too numerous list in our statute books. Adverting to the statement made by the right hon. Secretary on Friday last, that many of these frames were let out to workmen at so much per week, and that these workmen, in many instances, either connived at or co-operated with the framebreakers, he proposed that some measure should be adopted for making the tenant responsible in law for the value of the frame, which would necessarily give him an interest in its preservation. Why was not some method of this sort resorted to, which would destroy the joint interest which the tenant too often had at present with the frame-breakers? He should have thought, also, that a Bill amercing the county of Nottingham in the value of the pecuniary damages sustained by individuals, would have had a good effect in repressing disorders, by producing a more general interest in their prevention. Upon the whole, he should oppose this Bill, as thinking that our long list of capital offences was already sufficiently disgraceful, and that many of the late atrocious crimes by which the country had been disgraced and alarmed, had originated in the frequency of such horrid spectacles.

§Mr. John Smith wished to observe, that though the destruction of stocking frames was punishable with transportation, yet there was no such law at present to protect the lace-frames employed in one of the most elegant manufactures of this country. That defect, therefore, ought to be immediately supplied. It was his firm opinion that some measure ought forthwith to be resorted to: the state of the county, to his certain knowledge imperiously required it; and he must support the present Bill till he heard of some preferable measure. He believed that the great cause of all the excesses was the decay of trade; and he hoped, that in due time, that subject would be enquired into. But this was not the precise moment for 830 such enquiry: the disturbance Which at present existed must first be completely put down.

Mr. Lockhart was convinced that the anxiety not to increase the number of capital punishments, was not confined to the hon. gentleman opposite, but that it was generally prevalent in the House. This was a case, however, in which he thought that the enactment of capital punishment would have a beneficial effect, and would particularly operate to deter offenders, through the medium of the impression which the fear of it would make on the minds of their wives and families. The offences in question were, indeed, of the most serious nature, and approached most nearly to constructive levying of war, that was, to high treason. Lord Hale mentioned a case of breaking looms in London, which five out of the twelve judges declared to be actually constructive levying of war, or high treason. All lawyers must be acquainted with the case of Damaree and Purchase, in the reign of Anne, executed for entering into an association to destroy all Presbyterian meeting houses; the judges holding that the offence was constructive levying of war, or high treason. He should support the Bill; but he conceived that the offender ought to have some guards similar to those possessed by any one accused of high treason; and, therefore, when in the committee, he should propose the introduction of a clause giving the prisoner the benefit of one counsel.

§Mr. Herbert (of Kerry) supported the motion. The situation of Nottingham he conceived to be somewhat like that of some counties in Ireland, when those counties were agitated by the White Boys. At that time capital penalties were enacted against those offenders; and the effect was such as might be anticipated from the operation of the present Bill. The law would not be like the laws of the Medes and Persians, irrevocable, but might be, and ought to be, repealed whenever the emergency should cease.

§Mr. Wrottesley was of opinion, that the proposed measure would not have the effect expected from it. The greater the terror inspired by the act, the less he conceived would be the likelihood of detection. The preamble of the present Bill stared, that the 28th of the King had been ineffectual in putting a stop to the outrages complained of; but he would ask, where was the proof of the inefficacy of that 831 act? Not one prosecution had taken place under it. He had the authority of Black-stone for saying that no capital punishment should be resorted to until one of a more lenient kind had been tried and had failed.

Sir S. Romilly said, that there were two points on which the whole House had agreed:—one, that the punishment of death should never be recurred to, except in cases were all other species of punishment had been found ineffectual; the other, that an evil now existed to which a remedy ought to be applied as soon as possible. For his part, he was convinced that the remedy proposed was no remedy whatsoever; the evil would still continue to exist in spite of it. He confessed from whatever cause these disturbances proceeded,—whether from a spirit of malice against the master-manufacturers, or from the idea that the frames diminished human labour, and encroached on human industry,—that the existence of them was a monstrous evil. It was an evil, more over, which had existed in the face of a law; and he could attribute its continuance only to two causes,—either to conspiracy to suppress evidence against offenders, or to supineness in the magistracy. It was folly to talk of the terror which would arise from converting the punishment of transportation for fourteen years, into the punishment of death. The terror of the one would always have an almost equal influence with the other on the human mind; and he would answer for it, that this terror would not tend to diminish the evil. It was evident, if the existence of the evil were to be attributed to a conspiracy to suppress evidence, that the terror of a greater punishment would tend the more to keep witnesses from coming forward. If, on the other hand, the magistrates had not made sufficient exertions under the existing statute, it was plain that the change of punishment would not make them more active. The great evil to be complained of was, that the law had been converted into a mere dead letter, that it had been made only a lifeless scarecrow, from which custom had removed even the terror that might originally have been felt on beholding it. If, indeed, the statute of the 28th of Geo. 3, had been duly enforced, and these iniquitous proceedings had been persevered in, in defiance of it, then there might be some plausible ground for the measure before the House. As the Bill had only been delivered since the 832 meeting of the House, the gentlemen who had spoken on the contrary side, might not have had time to read it, or they would have seen that it was in no way calculated to remedy that which the whole nation so loudly exclaimed against. One hon. and learned gentleman (Mr. Lockhart) had said, that the Nottingham rioters were guilty of a crime little short of constructive treason. It was undoubtedly true, that a general combination to break all the frames might be so construed, and perhaps the late outrageous proceedings deserved a title little less severe; but on examining the Bill itself, it would be found that it was not at all calculated to operate against such conspirators. The four species of crime contemplated by the Bill were, first, entering houses by force, and destroying machines; second, entering houses by force, with intent to destroy them; third, wilfully and maliciously cutting in pieces machines; and the fourth, destroying any utensil, instrument, &c. belonging to the machinery. Would the House believe it, and yet it was true, that not one of those crimes partook of the dreadful nature of the evil complained of; and which evil was, as it was likened to high-treason, a conspiracy to destroy all frames? According to the present Bill, an idle apprentice, who, from a quarrel with his master, or any other cause, should break or destroy the machinery of his master, or the slightest utensil connected with it, might be capitally convicted under it. In fact, the Bill was totally directed against individual depredation, and not against the conspiracy which had given birth to the late disturbances. It required little skill, indeed, to construct an act far better for its purposes than that proposed by the right hon. gentleman. It did not even leave any thing to the humanity of a prosecutor; but in all cases compelled a prosecution.—Gentlemen on the other side no doubt thought that they were supporting a measure to secure the future tranquillity of Nottingham and the surrounding counties from these illegal combinations; but on looking at the wording of the Bill they would find themselves grievously disappointed, for the net, instead of being spread wide enough to secure all, could catch only a very few of the offenders. He, perhaps, would have recommended that offenders should not have been prosecuted, until it were clear that a combination existed, by several frames having been previously broken, or unless 833 three or four men in concert committed the act.—In every respect this measure was totally inadequate: it did little credit to the legislative skill of ministers, and if passed would be a disgrace to the proceedings of the House. It appeared that the right hon. Secretary had brought the Bill ready made in his pocket, before he obtained leave to bring it in; and he (sir S. R.) was confident that in after times it would astonish an English House of Commons to find, upon the inspection of the Journals, that in a case of life and death their predecessors had upon only a few minutes consideration adopted a measure of such extent and importance.—He recommended, before such a hasty step were taken, that some examination of the ground should be made, and that a committee should be appointed to make inquiry into a subject on which the House actually knew little or nothing. What hon. member, let his connections be what they might, could say that he knew the cause of these riots; whether they originated in malice on the part of the workmen against their masters for ill-treatment, or from a determination to destroy machinery, which lessened the proportion of manual labour? Whether any, and what combinations had been entered into, and what subscriptions had been raised to resist the efforts of the legislature? These were questions of great importance, and to proceed without information upon them would be highly unbecoming the dignity and wisdom of the House.

§Mr. Bathurst thought, that after the long continuance of the outrages which had so much disgraced the country,—after they had so long braved the law, and had even been alluded to as a matter of exultation by the common enemy,—it was right that the government should adopt more efficient measures than had been hitherto resorted to. He regretted the mode of opposition which had been pursued against the Bill; and was particularly sorry for what had fallen from the hon. and learned gentleman who spoke last. As to any "reproach on the executive for not being sufficiently active, he had merely to appeal to the testimony borne to their exertions by the hon. gentleman, the member for Nottingham. The real question was, not whether the existing law was adequate or not to the putting down of the disturbances, but whether the terror inspired by a heavier punishment would not more effectually answer 834 that purpose. The measure proposed was founded on that principle of all criminal law, pæna ad paucos, metus ad omnes perveniat.' The threat or terror would have the effect of deterring the many, and the punishment would fall only on, the few. It was a measure brought forward with a view not to punish, but to prevent the crime to which it referred; it had not for its object, as was supposed, the shedding of human blood, but to render the commission of this sort of offences less frequent. With respect to the preamble of the Bill, it certainly did not comprize the whole of the grounds for the adoption of the measure, nor did the Bill itself, as the hon. and learned gentleman imagined, provide merely for the punishment of idle or mischievous apprentices; it was intended to put a stop to the outrages. But if there were any objectionable passages in it, those passages might be obviated in the committee. The peace of the country would be cheaply purchased by the forfeiture of a few lives, in order to deter future outrages on the property of individuals, and the tranquillity of the state.

Mr. C. W. Wynn said, that the right hon. gentleman who spoke last had set out with a total misconception; for the question was not, as he had stated, whether the existing law was a sufficient remedy for the evil, but, whether the proposed new law was likely to be efficient? This he contended was not the case; for it signified little what punishment wag enacted, if persons could not be found to give information against the offenders. The use of a committee would have been, that an inquiry might have been made into the alleged insufficiency of the existing law—into the fact of any conviction having taken place under it—into the necessity for a severer law—or into the causes why evidence had been held back. Measures might have been devised for the suppression or prevention of those outrages, rewards might have been offered, or severer enactments proposed against persons who deterred witnesses from coming forward; instead of which, the authors of this measure came forward, for fear it should be doubted that the executive had done something, without any assurance that they had reached the root of the evil—which was the only means of preventing or remedying it. On the night when this Bill was introduced, the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exche- 835 quer had asserted, that it had not been brought forward earlier, in the hope that the former statute of the 28th of the King, would be found effectual, without any new enactment, and that finding themselves disappointed, government had suggested, unwillingly, this measure. In this statement the right hon. gentleman was contradicted by the fact, since tranquillity had been restored, according to his own confession, several days before this Bill had been brought into the House.

§Sir Arthur Piggott said, that if the Bill, from its provisions or its object, appeared to him simply to extend the act of the 28th of the King to lace frames as well as stocking frames, he should have thought it desirable; but he knew no way in which the purpose of the measure was to be collected except from the right hon. mover himself, or from the words of the Bill, by which he understood, that it was to be made capital in both instances to destroy frames. Now, if ever a legislature took a wrong step, it was when there existed a degree of indignation against persons who had committed violent aggressions against private property and public peace. On that part of the subject he was far from being convinced by the right hon. gentleman who supported the Bill. Here were offences against which a law existed enforced by no light punishment. Had the punishment been tried, or the law enforced? Before any one asked him to extend the punishment and to make it capital, he ought to prove that the law had been enforced, and had been found ineffectual, and then he might have a right to call for the enactment of capital punishment, but not till then. But that was not the case here, for he did not find that there had been any prosecution upon the 28th of the King, and perhaps there had been no occasion for it; so there was no authority to say that the law was not fully adequate to its purpose, except the necessity of extending it to the breaking of lace frames. But why was not the law enforced? Because the difficulty of detection prevented it. Would capital punishment increase the means of detection? If the difficulty of convicting offenders consisted in the reluctance of witnesses, was there any thing in the nature of capital punishment which would lessen that reluctance? He apprehended not. The only remaining principle on which the right hon. gentleman recommended the measure to the House was, that it 836 would operate to excite terror; but how many instances were there of proofs to the contrary? And had not the House been lately engaged with the reverse of the proposition? He then commented on the precipitation with which the Bill had been hurried through the House; and hoped they would pause before they proceeded further. No one could deny the necessity of some protection being afforded to the property of the persons injured; but he conceived always, that the question for the second reading of a Bill was the proper period to protest against its principle; for, if that was defective, the committee would be useless. Objecting as be did to the principle of the measure, be should oppose it in its present stage.

Mr. Secretary Ryder said, that having already spoken fully on the subject of this Bill, it would be unnecessary for him to do more now, than to make a few observations on what had fallen from hon. members in the course of the debate. The hon. and learned gentleman, who had just sat down, had objected to the punishment of death being enacted by this Bill; and for the reason, that no trial had been made of the efficacy of the penalty of transportation, because not one prosecution had taken place. The hon. and learned gentleman thought, therefore, that making the destruction of lace frames liable to the same punishment as that of stocking frames, namely, transportation, would answer the purpose. How, then, would the matter stand, according to the argument of the hon. and learned gentleman? The preamble of the Bill must run thus, "Where as the punishment of transportation exists against the breaking of stocking frames, and has been found ineffectual; therefore it is thought necessary, that the same punishment should be extended to the breaking of lace frames." It was, in his opinion, idle and nugatory to enact such a law, as it would be impossible that any good purpose could be answered by it. With regard to the objection of extending the punishment of death, he begged the House to recollect, that this was only intended as a temporary measure, to meet a pressing temporary evil; and that the hope was, that the terror of death might put a speedy end to the present unlawful and alarming proceedings in Nottingham, and the neighbouring counties. If the state of the town and county of Nottingham were considered, no gentleman would contend that the dis- 837 turbances ought to be allowed to exist. He did assure those gentlemen who had done him the opportunity of viewing his conduct in a favourable light, that he highly prized their good opinion. In what he had done towards restoring order, however, there was no merit attached to him or his colleagues. In the execution of their duty, (a melancholy one it was) they had been guided by a wish to preserve the public tranquillity. He would much rather, however, have had the mischief attributed in some degree to his own supineness, than that its ravages should have occasioned unmerited censure upon the local exertions of the authorities with in the immediate scene of action. The conduct of the magistrates was exemplary throughout the county. With respect to the exertions of the town magistrates, these were limited to the district, but were not less laudable. In considering the Bill, the House would recollect that the mischief must be put down in some way or other. The efforts of the magistrates, though meritorious, were still found to be ineffectual. The question was not an insulated one; it was not a question which affected the manufacturing interests of that particular district, but the whole of the manufacturers throughout the kingdom. The outrages endangered the public tranquillity in a very great degree, and if by this Bill men should for the future be deterred from the commission of similar crimes, the House in passing the Bill had done their duty. He did not mean to affirm that the Bill could give facility of detection. That of making the offence capital, would have the effect of deterring men from crimes. When men knew publicly that parliament regarded their offences in a heinous light, and that it was the determination of the executive to send judges specially down, and not wait for the ordinary assizes, to try offenders, it was fair to conclude that the object would be accomplished. At all events, it was unanimously admitted that the evil existed, but no gentleman on the other side of the House had, though he objected to the present measure, come forward with a remedy for that evil. Therefore, under these circumstances the House would, he trusted, adopt the Bill now in progress, as the rejection of it might produce effects which no one could anticipate.
Mr. Bastard said, that after the outrages which had been committed, he would vote for the Bill going to a committee; but 838 when it had passed, he should be glad to know what security there would be for its being enforced: Why was the law already in existence suffered to slumber, without making any trial of its efficacy? Why had ministers suffered those riots to go on for two or three months? No one could persuade him that the right hon. gentleman deserved any praise. He should not have waited for any information, or expected to derive any assistance from the country magistrates. Was not the right hon. gentleman the chief magistrate, and ought he not to have directed the rest? He hoped the House would institute some enquiry into the proceedings of the Secretary of State's office, and take some measures to invigorate them.

§Mr. Whitbread acquitted the right hon. the Secretary of State for the Home Department of any want of vigour; as it had been allowed on all hands, that he had done every thing that could be done by an early interposition both of the civil and of the military power. He must, however, object to the Bill, because it was a clumsy expedient, and because it extended the long list of our capital punishments. In his opinion, the great defect of the legislature of this country for the last century had been, that when they found the people prone to the commission of crimes, they, in order to put a stop to them, enacted the penalty of death; by which offenders had escaped punishment almost as much as if no law had been enacted at all. He was particularly averse from proceeding with the present Bill without enquiry, because the present was a period of tranquillity in Nottingham; and there was, in consequence, no cause for haste. The statute book teemed with sentences inflicting the penalty of death; and he thought it was a subject the revision of which would well become, the policy as well as the humanity of the House. So long back as 40 years, the penalty of death for offences was considered so lightly of, that the House came to a resolution, That no Bill imposing that penalty should be introduced without a previous committee. For that resolution the public were indebted to sir William Meredith, who, in 1772, being on an enclosure committee, accidentally heard some of the interested parties complain that several of the peasants were refractory and troublesome, and that the only way to get rid of them would be by hanging a few. The hon. baronet was so 839 Struck by the injustice and wickedness of the observation, that he moved, and the House adopted the resolution. Following up the resolution, he (Mr. W.) intended to propose that it should be made a standing order of the House, that no Bill should be introduced having for its object the infliction of penalty of death without a previous committee. If a committee had been granted, as had been proposed by his hon. and learned friend (Mr. Abercromby) they might have traced the origin of the evils, and found out other remedies perhaps; but as the present Bill did not seem calculated to reach those evils, and as its very principle was objectionable, he should certainly vote against its being read a second time.

§Mr. Frankland contended, that when the law was openly violated, it was the duty of the legislature to enact severer laws. If the parent were not obeyed, while mild and indulgent, who would maintain that he ought not to change his countenance, and express his indignation? The law proposed was a law not merely to prevent the breaking of frames, but to protect whatever was most dear to us in life. When gentlemen talked of sporting with the lives of others, he would ask, who sported with the lives of the people? Who neglected the general safety? and on whom must fall the awful responsibility, if a remedy were not promptly applied to those alarming evils which were under their consideration? If the law were openly defied, and force continued to be opposed to force, while they were speaking there, thousands of lives might be swept away, and thousands might fall the victims of a too refined sensibility, and mistaken and puling feeling of humanity. He denied that there were more crimes visited with capital punishment in our code of laws than in any other; and adverting to what had fallen from an hon. gentleman, who had contended that capital punishment should only be inflicted where it was authorised by the Scripture, which it was said only justified it in one instance, where it is written—"Whosoever sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed," he was surprised how any man could read Leviticus and Deuteronomy, and be of such an opinion. It would be found, in looking into those books, that they contained more capital punishments than any modern code of laws, and Europe had been convinced that it would be improper to adopt a code so sanguinary. In the Scrip- 840 ture it would be found, that by the law of the Israelites, he who "disobeyed his father and would not hearken to his voice," was sentenced to be led out and stoned till he died.—He then proceeded to show, by analogy, that exemplary punishment ought to be inflicted on those who opposed the parental mandates of the legislature: and concluded by giving it as his opinion, that it was incumbent on the legislature to express its disapprobation of such outrageous proceedings in the strongest manner, by enacting that they should be visited with capital punishment, and those who suffered in consequence of the passing of such a law, were to be regarded as the victims of their own illusions and misconduct.

§ The House divided...
(Vote for the Second Reading of the bill was 94 votes in favour and 17 votes against.)        

§ The Bill was then read a second time. On the motion of Mr. Secretary Ryder that the Bill be committed to-morrow.

§Sir Samuel Romilly moved as an amendment, That it should be committed on Wednesday; and observed, that he took this opportunity of rectifying some misrepresentations of his former statements. Remarks had been made, as if he had considered the subject as one of light importance; on the contrary, he thought and had stated the evil to be of enormous magnitude, and one which required a strong remedy. He had merely objected to the proposed method of furnishing a remedy. He observed, that the time allowed before the reference to a committee was so short, that he should not be able, if inclined, to frame a clause for insertion in the Bill; and asked what excuse the right hon. Secretary could give to the House and the public for not supplying some previous notice of the contents of his Bill? The present, he must also observe, was not a subject into which paradoxes and subtlety of reasoning ought to be introduced; nor could there be a time when such observations as an hon. and learned friend of his 841 (Mr. Frankland) had made about "puling humanity" were more entirely misplaced. He agreed—the whole House agreed—that some powerful remedy was demanded under the present circumstances—that blood should be shed to prevent a greater effusion of blood; but he thought the Bill essentially deficient, as it suffered too much to depend upon the humanity of the prosecutor in some instances, and too much on the interpretation of the judge in others. The statute would be a dead letter with respect to the particular case it was framed to meet, while its effects would be deplored where it was not intended to operate.

§Mr. Bathurst disclaimed all idea of imputing to the hon. and learned gentleman any wish to under-rate the importance of the transactions alluded to; but complained that he had manifested some inconsistency in stating, at the same time, that the Bill would be a dead letter, and would also cause too great a sacrifice of lives.

Sir S. Romilly in explanation said, that the right hon. member who spoke last had misrepresented—he would not say had misstated—his positions. His observation had been, that as far as regarded the case of conspiracy, the act would be a dead letter, though this was the case where it was intended to apply; while it would operate severely against individuals, a case not within the meaning of the Bill.

§Mr. Frankland said, that he should wish the time to be enlarged, except the subject was one which frequently had come before the legislative body. Statutes already existed on the woollen, the silk, and cotton manufactures, and none on this branch of craft. It was also important that it should not go out to the public, that the House was not clear and decisive in its intentions on this subject.

§ The House divided,

For the Amendment 15

Against it 80

Majority —65

§ The original motion for going into the committee to-morrow was then put and agreed to.

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