Monday, 15 February 2016




 For several weeks back, the neighbourhoods of New Mills, Chapel-en-le-Frith and Whaley Bridge have been infested with a number of able-bodied individuals, who, under pretence of being destitute, have committed serious outrages upon the shopkeepers and other inhabitants there.  And yet it is remarkable how very indifferently, or rather very inadequately these offences have been entertained by the administrators of the law in that district; as the following cases will illustrate.  On Tuesday evening, three stout looking young men, natives of Manchester, but who had been to Sheffield, applied at the Chapel-en-le-Frith workhouse for shelter for the night and obtained it.  No sooner, however, had they been admitted within the walls of the night asylum, than they began to destroy their clothing by burning them (their own being ragged and wet), calculating that in the morning they would each be supplied with new and better clothng at the Union expense.  In this latter instance, they were mistaken, for the only habitaments provided for them were made from wrappering, and the appearance not being very complimentary, they became very disorderly and refused to put them on.  The Governor insisted; a riot ensued; and the tramps threatened to commit some outrage in the village if they were turned out in the clothing tendered to them.  In this dilemma, a resident magistrate was consulted; but he declined to interfere. The Governoer then on his own responsibility, got assistance; the tramps were clothed by force, and they were turned out of the workhouse early in the afternoon.  About three o'clock,  being on their way from Chapel-en-le-Frith to Stockport, they broke the windows of Mr T C Mosley, and stole several currant cakes thereout, and were apprehended by the constable while they were eating the cakes near to the shop.  The next day they were taken before a resident magistrate; but, after hearing the case, he declined to commit them fot the felony, because the property stolen was so trifling.  On the other hand, he would not discharge them, because they had threatened the constable that if he did not take them into custody, they would commit another outrage before dark.  They were accordingly committed to Derby house of correction for two months, with an intimation to Mr Mosley that the expenses of £1. 4s must be paid by him.  Mr Mosley complained that the defendents had not been committed on his charge; and, therefore he had no right to be called upon, not only to repair the damage to his broken window, the loss of his cakes, but the additional costs of their commitment, for using improper language to the constable. He submitted that as the felony having been proved, the magistrate had no alternative but to commit for felony; and moreover mutated the injured and robbed shopkeeper in the amount of cost of £1. 4s.  This, upon the face of it, appears a very cruel proceeding; and if it be Derbyshire law or Derbyshire equity, we shall much prefer being governed by our system of Cheshire justice.  Our correspondent further complains that the same magistrate seems to have an insuperable objection to committing for trial in trivial cases of felony. A few weeks since, two men went into the shop of Mr Collier near Whaley, and asked for 3lb of bread; and when given to them they began to eat it, but refused to pay for it.  The parties were apprehended, but no committal followed. In consequence of this systematic indisposition to administer the law fully, the shopkeepers and licenses victuallers in that vicinity have determined upon sending a protest with their names attached, to the proper authorities on the subject, intimating that  if any further depredations are committed upon their property by tramps and latitudinarians, they will deal summarily with the case, without troubling the resident magistrate.

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