England History. The Luddites and the Combination Acts

A Luddite Manifesto in Nottinghamshire, 1812

Source: University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth;
The declaration of the framework knitters, 1 Jan. 1812. Public Record Office, Home Office, 42, p.119; in A. Aspinall and E. Anthony Smith, eds., English Historical Documents, XI, 1783-1832, New York: Oxford University Press, 1959, p. 531. The Luddite riots began in Nottingham shire in 1811-12. The workers protested the introduction of new machinery in the hosiery trade.

By the Framework knitters
A Declaration.

Whereas by the charter granted by our late sovereign Lord Charles II by the Grace of God King of Great Britain France and Ireland, the framework knitters are empowered to break and destroy all frames and engines that fabricate articles in a fraudulent and deceitful manner and to destroy all framework knitters’ goods whatsoever that are so made and whereas a number of deceitful unprincipled and intriguing persons did attain an Act to be passed in the 28th year of our present sovereign Lord George III whereby it was enacted that persons entering by force into any house shop or place to break or destroy frames should be adjudged guilty of felony and as we are fully convinced that such Act was obtained in the most fraudulent interested and electioneering manner and that the honourable the Parliament of Great Britain was deceived as to the motives and intentions of the persons who obtained such Act we therefore the framework knitters do hereby declare the aforesaid Act to be null and void to all intents and purposes whatsoever as by the passing of this Act villainous and imposing persons are enabled to make fraudulent and deceitful manufactures to the discredit and utter ruin of our trade. And whereas we declare that the aforementioned Charter is as much in force as though no such Act had been passed.... And we do hereby declare to all hosiers lace manufacturers and proprietors of frames that we will break and destroy all manner of frames whatsoever that make the following spurious articles and all frames whatsoever that do not pay the regular prices heretofore agreed to [by] the masters and workmen-All print net frames making single press and frames not working by the rack and rent and not paying the price regulated in 1810: warp frames working single yarn or two coarse hole-not working by the rack, not paying the rent and prices regulated in 1809-whereas all plain silk frames not making work according to the gage-frames not marking the work according to quality, whereas all frames of whatsoever description the work-men of whom are not paid in the current coin of the realm will invariably be destroyed.....

Given under my hand this first day of January 1812.
God protect the Trade.

Ned Lud’s -Office
Sherwood Forest