March 9, 1812: Frame Work Bill

On March 9, 1812, the Frame Work bill, also known as the Frame Breaking bill came up again before the House of Commons as a result of the amendments in the House of Lords. The debate went as follows:

HC Deb 09 March 1812 vol 21 cc1215-7 1215
The Lords' amendments to this Bill were taken into consideration. On the amendment to the clause, as passed in the Commons, enacting 1216 the punishment of fine 'and' imprisonment,

The Speaker observed, that the amendment of the Lords was, that the offence should be punished by fine 'or' imprisonment. In fact, they had declared, that in some cases, at the discretion of the judges, there should be no fine; whereas the Commons had decided, that, in every case, there should be a fine. He stated, that the constant practice of the House was the rejection of any amendment from the Lords which interfered with any branch of public revenue.

The amendment was then rejected, and a committee ordered to be appointed, to communicate to the Lords the grounds on which the Commons had rejected their amendment.

Mr. Wynn took that opportunity of stating, that he was sorry the Bill had once more come before the House. It had already produced had effects, and the communications he had received from Nottingham magistrates stated, that since the introduction of it, every source of information was completely shut up.

Mr. Secretary Ryder said, that the Bill had been introduced as the only measure likely to put an end to these disgraceful disturbances. At the same time he did not know what sources of information the terror of that Bill could have shut up, as the characteristic of that insurrection was, from the beginning, that no information whatever could be procured.

Mr. Wynn explained, that he meant private information.

Mr. J. Smith confirmed Mr. Wynn's statements, and added, that a material change of sentiment, in respect to that Bill, had taken place in Nottingham since its first introduction.

Mr. Secretary Ryder stated again, that no information of any kind, public or private, had ever reached government on the subject of those riots.
§Sir J. Newport said, that if information was not attainable as the law originally stood, it was folly to expect it when more severe punishments were enacted—it was not in human nature. He was confident that sanguinary punishments, enacted on the spur of the occasion, never answered any good purpose in this, or in any other country.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that the gentlemen on the other side were arguing as if the Bill had been intended to procure information which could not be 1217 obtained by any other means, whereas it was only intended to deter people from persevering in their lawless pursuits.

The committee on the Lords' amendment was then appointed, and ordered to meet in the Speaker's chamber forthwith.

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