By Gwenda Morgan
Rogues, Thieves and the rule of thumb of legislation" is a large-scale research of crime, disease and legislations enforcement in northern England within the early sleek interval. London used to be now not the single urban the place lady criminals have been universal and gangs have been feared, nor was once it the only centre of business and political agitation. The north was once a space of nationwide value which provided the capital with its gas and whose tendency to commercial insurgence commanded the eye of each 18th-century administration.; Arguing that a lot of the hot paintings on early glossy crime has concerned with London and its surrounding counties, that have wrongly been interpreted as ordinary of the entire nation, this learn, against this, seeks to put the metropolitan photograph in the wider context of nearby realities. As such, it bargains an important antidote to the image of over the top brutality linked to London and Tyburn, breaking new floor by way of encompassing crime in a complete zone and in any respect degrees of the judicial approach. It uniquely displays upon gender and crime, the improvement of transportation, the increase of imprisonment and the convergence of army and civil strength, in an try and include an assertive and riotous inhabitants in a sector distant from relevant authority.; The north-east had a distinctively violent background earlier than 1700 and retained a few of its ordinarily wild personality within the 18th century. The starting to be contrasts among city and rural districts offer a revealing backdrop to the various styles of crime and reputable responses. when it comes to punishments, the sector quickly nationwide developments in transportation, yet used to be pioneering in its early use of imprisonment. This learn seeks to alter the way in which we expect approximately crime in early sleek England.
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Additional info for Rogues, Thieves And the Rule of Law: The Problem Of Law Enforcement In North-East England, 1718-1820
Analysis of the few remaining notebooks suggest that, while urban justices were comparatively keen to deal with complaints through judicial processes, their rural colleagues preferred to settle the majority of cases informally. The contrast between the actions of Henry Norris in Hackney, who sent more than a third of complaints to court, and William Hunt in Wiltshire who settled more than half informally and prosecuted less than a tenth, is striking. Edmund Tew, though dealing with cases arising from fractious social relations on the fringes of two of Durham’s burgeoning urban centres, Sunderland and South Shields, seems to have continued to act in a rural manner, as befits his 34 ROGUES, THIEVES AND THE RULE OF LAW role as a vicar of a small village in between.
This was the case in the majority of sexual assaults, as well as allegations of theft or fraud. While one Sunderland man was committed to trial for raping a 10-year-old girl and giving her “the foul distemper”, other cases involving an 11-year-old and a servant girl were “agreed”. There is similar ambivalence towards marital violence: in one instance Tew refused to take the oath of a wife against her husband for “further ill 32 ROGUES, THIEVES AND THE RULE OF LAW usage”. With regard to theft, Tew was far more likely to condemn false and malicious accusations than uphold the allegations.
Justices handled individual complaints in their own houses and held regular petty sessions for purposes such as licensing alehouses as well as for poor law matters and summary justice. Little survives to form the basis of analysis compared with elsewhere in England, though appeals against magistrates’ decisions of private and petty sessions do occur in the quarter sessions records. The justices themselves sometimes referred cases to the quarter sessions that would normally be handled locally. Sir Edward Blackett reported to the Northumberland sessions in 1742 that he had little choice but to commit Thomas Fenwick to gaol because, when brought before him for assaulting a woman, Fenwick had refused to enter a recognizance, had sworn at him, and threatened to “beat several persons of my family”.