HL Deb 18 March 1839 vol 46 cc791-2
Lord Brougham

presented a petition from the cotton spinners who were convicted a year and a-half ago of an illegal combination. It would be recollected that owing, not to his learned friend, the Lord Advocate, but to the blundering of some other persons, the parties had been kept in prison a long time before trial. They had now been nearly two years in prison, and the last year was in the hulks, and they complained of the hardships they had suffered. If the men had been convicted a few miles south of Glasgow, and under the laws of England, they would have only been liable to three months' imprisonment, and they prayed their Lordships, as the highest court of judicature, to interfere in their behalf. If mercy were extended to them they would acknowledge that they owed their release to the clemency of the executive; and he would take upon himself to say, that he was satisfied, from the anxious inquiries of persons who had seen and conversed with the convicts, that if they were released, nothing whatever would be done by their friends or advocates to make unseemly or unbefitting expressions; and nothing but gratitude for the mercy that had been bestowed.

Petition laid on the table.

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