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Broadside account of the proceedings at the Lancaster Assizes after rioting at steam mills in Lancashire, 1826


An account of the proceedings at the Lancaster Assizes against the
Rioters in Lancashire; when no less than 35 Men and 7 Women
received the awful sentence of Death on Monday last, for destroy-
ing the Steam-power Looms ; Also, the excellent Address of the
Judge on passing Sentence, with the Names of the unfortunate


This day the sentence of Death was recorded against no less than 35 men and 7 women,
convicted of destroying different Steam Loom Factories &c., in Lancashire.

The prisoners having been placed, 42 in the dock, in sets, his Lordship addressed them
as follows:------

Prisoners?I have desired that you might be hrought up here, a few at a time. I lament
most deeply that there are no fewer than 42 follow-creatures under capital conviction for a
most heinous offence. It is impossible for a country governed by law, that it should be
permitted to persons to endeavour to relieve their own distresses by violence. There has
been, God knows, a great pressure of distress in this country, but it cannot be permitted
to individuals to carve out their own relief. You are most deluded persons; for you have
been destroying the means by which you were to live, and taking out of the hands of those
who were disposed to serve you, the means by which they could do so. It is of high im-
portance that these things should not be tolerated, and that men guilty of such offences
should receive a very severe punishment. The law has affixed to the crime of which you
have been guilty, the punishment of Death. It is not my intention, however, to carry that
sentence into full effect, and I shall recommend it to his Majesty to be pleased to pardon
you so far as your lives are concerned. My motives for so doing are these?that I think it
probable that the lenity which is about to be shown to you will have a due effect upon your
minds, and that what you have already seen and heard will convince you that the law is able
to reach you even to the extent of your lives for these offences, and that it is your own in-
terest, happiness and comfort, to lead quiet and respectable lives. The injury which you do
to your families by these courses cannot be calculated, because, if parents, brothers, and
sons, will commit offences, they must involve in their punishment their innocent relatives.
Another motive for my lenity is, that most of those who have been convicted are extremely
young persons, and, although their outrages have been dreadful and disgraceful as against
property, I have not found any instance, with a single exception, of pessonal violence being
resorted to.

I have said that most of you are young: I must make an exception to that observation,
in one of the prisoners now standing before me, viz. James Chambers, who is the oldest
amongst you, and the most grievous offender, because he has been convicted of two capital
felonies, in which he took the most active and riotous part, and also of an offence not capi-
tal, under another statute. It was my intention at one time, and I may say for several
days, to have made him an example by taking his life; but I shall not select him singly on
this occasion, and therefore I shall not clect him singly on this occasion, and therefore I
shall transmit his name, amongst others, for His Majesty's gracions consideration. But I
would not have you consider that, although I transmit this recommendation, those who ad-
vise His Majesty may not think it necessary to carry the sentence into full effect; but I
hope, I indeed believe, that this will not be the case. Do not,. however, flatter yourselves
too strongly, that you will escape without very severe punishment. Another motive which
has induced me to take the course I have taken, is, that the respectable Juries who have
tried you, have recommended the first six of you to mercy; and that on a ground which is
applicable to all the cases, namely, the severe pressure of the times. I have nothing more
to say, but that I earnestly trust that the dredful example of punishment which is now
about to be made, and which must be made, though I trust it will not reach the lives of any
at you, will convince you that no happiness can result from a life of turbulence and riot, but
that peace and good order are always conducive to the interest and happiness of men.

The following are the prisoners convicted:?James Riding, Wm. Sutcliffe, Rd. Kay, Jas.
Latham, James Ormerod, James Haworth, James Chambers, Simeon Wright, Rd. Entwisle,
Wm. Winder, John Haworth, Henry Melling, Thomas Lomax, Thos. Greenhalgh, James
Crowshaw, Thos. Leaver, Isaac Hindle, Thos. Dickinson, James Leaver, Edw. Houghton,
Thos. Ashworth, Thos. Sharples, Rt. Butterworth, James Aspden, James Shorrock; Alext
Norris, John Orrell, Thos. Emett, Mary Hidle, Betty Haworth, Ann Eatwisle, Mary Mars-
den, Margaret Yates, Betty Cunliffe, Josh. Clayton, John Hoyle, Mark Cockerill, Jonah
Baldwin, Ann Ingham, Lawrence Hardman, Geo. Ashworth, John Ashworth.

John Muir, printer, Glasgow.

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Date published: 1826   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(088)
Broadside account of the proceedings at the Lancaster Assizes after rioting at steam mills in Lancashire, 1826
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