1812: 52 Geo. 3. c.16: The Frame-Breaking Act

1812: 52 George 3 c.16: An Act for the more exemplary Punishment of Persons destroying or injuring any Stocking or Lace Frames, or other Machines or Engines used in the Framework knitted Manufactory, or any Articles or Goods in such Frames or Machines; to continue in force until the First Day of March One thousand eight hundred and fourteen.

[20th March 1812.]
WHEREAS the Provisions of an Act of the Twenty eighth Year of the Reign of His present Majesty, intituled An Act for the better and more effectual Protection of Stocking Frames and the Machines or Engines annexed thereto or used therewith, and for the Punishment of Persons destroying or injuring of such Stocking Frames, Machines or Engines, and the Framework knitted Pieces, Stockings, and other Articles and Goods used and made in the Hosiery or Framework knitted Manufactory, or breaking or destroying any Machinery contained in any Mill or Mills used or in any way employed in preparing or Spinning of Wool or Cotton for the Use of the Stocking Frame, have been found ineffectual: And whereas such Outrages have for some time past been carried on to an alarming Extent; it is therefore necessary that more effectual Provisions should be made against such unlawful Practices, and for preventing such Outrages, and bringing Offenders therein to exemplary Justice; and that such Provisions should be extended to the Frame-work Lace Manufactory, against which similar Outrages have been committed: May it therefore please Your Majesty that it may be enacted; and be it enacted by the King’s Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same, That if any Person or Persons shall, by Day or by Night, enter by Force into any House, Shop or Place, with an Intent to cut or destroy any Framework knitted Pieces, Stockings or Lace, or other Articles or Goods being in the Frame, or upon any Machine or Engine thereto annexed, or therewith to be used or prepared for that Purpose; or with an Intent to break or destroy any Frame, Machine, Engine, Tool, Instrument or Utensil, used in and for the working and making of any such Framework knitted Pieces, Stockings, Lace, or other Articles or Goods in the Hosiery or Framework knitted Manufactory; or shall wilfully and maliciously, and without having the Consent or Authority of the Owner, destroy, or cut with an Intent to destroy or render useless, any Framework knitted Pieces, Stockings, Lace, or other Articles or Goods being in the Frame, or upon any Machine or Engine as aforesaid, or prepared for that Purpose; or shall wilfully and maliciously, and without having the Consent or Authority of the Owner, break, destroy or damage with an Intent to destroy or render useless any Frame, Machine, Engine, Tool, Instrument or Utensil used in and for the working and making of any such Framework knitted Pieces, Stockings, Lace, or other Articles or Goods in the Hosiery or Framework knitted Stocking, or Framework Lace Manufactory; or shall wilfully and maliciously, and without having the Consent or Authority of the Owner, break or destroy any Machinery contained in any Mill or Mills used or any way employed in preparing or spinning of Wool or Cotton, or other Materials for the Use of the Stocking or Lace Manufactory, every Offender being thereof lawfully convicted shall be adjudged guilty of Felony, and shall suffer Death, as in cases of Felony without Benefit of Clergy.

II. And be it further enacted, That every Person in whose House or Custody or Possession any Frame, Machine or Engine, Tool, Instrument or Utensil, used in and for the working and making of any Framework knitted Pieces, Stockings, Lace, or other Articles or Goods in the Hosiery or Framework knitted Stocking, or Framework Lace Manufactory as aforesaid (not being his or her Property) shall be at the time of the Destruction or damaging thereof, or of any Framework knitted Pieces, Stockings, Lace, or other Articles or Goods, being in the Frame, or upon any Machine or Engine as aforesaid, and who shall not, within Twenty four Hours after he or she shall have known of such Destruction or Damage being committed as aforesaid, give Notice thereof to the Owner of such Frame, Machine or Engine, Tool, Instrument or Utensil, as aforesaid, if residing within Twelve Miles, or if such Owner shall not reside within such Distance, then to some known Agent of such Owner, if any such Agent shall reside within the Distance of Twelve Miles; and also within Forty eight Hours, go before some Justice of the Peace or Magistrate residing near the Place where such Destruction or Damage shall have taken place as aforesaid, to be examined upon Oath, as to every Matter or Thing relating to the committing of such Destruction and Damage, and his Knowledge thereof, and of all Particulars relating thereto, which may lead to the Discovery of the Offender therein, every such Person shall for every such Neglect, be deemed guilty of a Misdemeanor; and every such Offender, being thereof lawfully convicted upon any Indictment or Information, may be punished as in Cases of Misdemeanor, by Fine and Imprisonment, at the Discretion of the Court in which he shall be convicted; and every Justice of the Peace or Magistrate before whom any such Person shall so go, shall examine such Person upon Oath (which Oath every such Justice of the Peace or Magistrate is hereby authorized to administer) as to his Knowledge of such Damage or Destruction, and of the Persons committing the same, or of any Particulars which may lead to the Detection of the Offenders therein; and shall also allow the Owner of the Frame, Machine or Engine, Tool, Instrument or Utensil, as aforesaid, or Agent if present, to put any Question upon Oath to such Person for the Discovery of the Offender; and if such Owner or Agent shall not have had sufficient Notice to be present when such Person came before the Justice or Magistrate for Examination as aforesaid, such Justice of the Peace or Magistrate shall, if required by the Owner or Agent aforesaid, or if such Justice of the Peace or Magistrate shall deem it necessary, although no such Requisition shall be made, again call such Person before him for Examination by the Owner or Agent aforesaid; and every such Person who shall neglect or refuse (upon being summoned) to appear again before such Justice of the Peace or Magistrate, and be again examined as aforesaid, shall be deemed guilty of a Misdemeanor, and punished as in cafes of Misdemeanors, at the Discretion of the Court in which he or she shall be convicted.

III. And be it further enacted, That if any Person examined by or before any Justice of the Peace or Magistrate under this Act as aforesaid, shall wilfully or corruptly swear any Matter or Thing which shall be false or untrue; or if any Person shall suborn or procure any Person to commit Perjury in any such Examination, every such Person so offending, and being, thereof duly convicted, shall be and is hereby declared to be subject and liable to the like Pains and Penalties as are by Law inflicted upon Persons committing Perjury, or guilty of Subornation of Perjury.

IV. And be it further enacted, That this Act may be altered, amended or repealed, by any Act or Acts to be passed in this Session of Parliament.

V. And be it further enacted, That this Act shall remain and continue in force until the First Day of March One thousand eight hundred and fourteen, and no longer.

Source: Luddite Bicentenary

Further reading: Wikipedia