The Age of George III

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The execution of Luddites

taken from the Leeds Mercury. The executions were carried out on 9 January 1813 in York

The Execution of these unhappy men took place yesterday. at nine o'clock, at the usual place behind the Castle wall, every precaution had been taken to make a rescue impracticable. Two troops of Cavalry were drawn up at the front of the drop and the entrances to the Castle were guarded by Infantry. At five minutes before nine o'clock, the prisoners were upon the fatal platform. After the ordinary had read the accustomed forms of prayer on these occasions, George Mellor prayed for about ten minutes; he spoke with great apparent fervency and devotion, confessing in general. the greatness of his sins. but without any admission to the crime for which he suffered. He prayed earnestly for mercy, and with a pathos that was affecting. The surrounding multitude were evidently affected. William Thorpe also prayed, but his voice was not so well heard. Smith said little, but seemed to join in the devotion with great seriousness. The prisoners were then moved to the front of the platform, and Mellor said: "Some of mv enemies may be here, if there be, I freely forgive them, and all the world, and I hope the world will forgive me." William Thorpe said, "I hope none of those who are now before me, will ever come to this place." The executioner then proceeded to perform his fatal office, and the drop fell. Some alteration had been made to the drop, so that all the whole body was visible when they were suspended; in former executions only the feet and head could be seen by the spectators. They were executed in their irons. They appeared slightly convulsed for a few moments.

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Last modified 12 January, 2016

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