THE TRIAL OF JEREMIAH YATES
N Staffordshire Mercury 27 August 1842
TRIAL OF JEREMIAH YATES
RIOTERS COMMITTED FOR TRIAL
"Jeremiah Yates, the proprietor of a coffee-house at Hanley, where the Chartists frequently held their meetings was brought up on a charge of riot. Thomas Furnival, a foremen of Messrs Ridgway and Marley at Shelton, stated that a mob of 200 persons came to the manufactory about 10 o'clock on Monday morning the 15th and the prisoner was at the head of it. He came forward and asked witness if any persons were at work. Witness answered "But a The prisoner said "It is the determination that they shall stop" and he and the mob entered the workshops, stopped all the men and took them away. The works had stood still up to last Saturday (20th).
The Prisoner was committed for trial; but bailed out himself in £100 and two sureties in £50 each"
Jeremiah Yates was thus freed until his trial began at Stafford in October 1842. There is a letter in the library at the Bishopsgate Institute from Thomas Winter at Stafford to Cooper's wife in which he writes on Oct 8 1842:
"Poor J Yates was called up before the Court to stand his trial this morning about twelve o'clock After a trial of three hours he was brought in guilty of Riot and Intimidation. He was in good spirits"
The Staffordshire Mercury 15th October 1842 reported:
TRIAL OF JERRY YATES
Turning out workman at Shelton
" --- Yates is well known as the keeper of temperance coffee house and shop for the sale of Chartist publications at Mile's Bank, Hanley"
"400 hands were employed when the manufactory was fully at work. On Aug 15, the Monday after the wakes, the hands were not all on, but only about 20 or 30"
"The prisoner appeared to have the control in bringing the mob. The mob were principally colliers. The prisoner was a china turner"
Joseph Bradley of Shelton, Clock manufacturer had known prisoner 5 or 6 years, during which time he had always been honest, industrious and peaceable.
Mr. Jefferies, hairdresser had known Yates 2 years and gave the same character.
The Judge summing up, said 'nothing could be more unlawful than to prevent any man from working'
According to the report in The Staffordshire Examiner (Oct 15 1842) the Judge added:
"If it (Chartism) meant persons labouring for the general confusion and overthrow of society, he did not think a very sane opinion could be formed of that man's judgment on political matters, although he hoped it would not prejudice the jury.
After 10 minutes, the Jury found Jeremiah guilty. The sentence was deferred, bail being given. (The sentence was one year's imprisonment)
Staffordshire Advertiser on Saturday, 15th October 1842 also reported:
Conviction of Jeremiah Yates
"Jeremiah Yates, a respectable looking man, who was said to be the keeper of a temperance coffee-house, was indicted for a riot and an unlawful assembly.
Evidence by Thomas Furnival, manager of Ridgeway's earthenware manufactory, said "The prisoner is a china-turner by trade" and said that Yates led the mob who came to "turn out workman"
Joseph Bradley said "I live at Shelton. I have known the prisoner for 5 or 6 years. I never heard anything of him contrary to peace and good order"
Thos. Jeffries: "I live next door to the prisoner and have known him two years. For honesty, sobriety and industry, a more peaceably disposed man or a more spotless character, I do not know."
Cross examination included the questions
"Does he not hold political meetings in his house?"
"Have you not seen persons at his house in large numbers?" (clearly considered an offence!)
It is interesting that Jeremiah got bail, refused to many others. He also did not get "with hard labour" attached to his sentence as did many others.
The Stafford Gaol Register (1841-5) at the Public Record Office mentions his transfer to the penitentiary on 7 Dec 1842 and that he had been 'disorderly' - perhaps meaning 'rebellious' The Calendar of Prisoners of Stafford Gaol (Public Record office) records:
"1842. Jeremiah Yates aged 32: Reads and writes well,
One year for riot.
August 15th 1842 in the
Parish of Stoke on Trent."
The prison Calendar recorded for each prisoner his reading and writing ability. Illiteracy was commonplace and the political prisoners must have been exceptional.
The Northern Star of 17 Dec 1842 mentions Jeremiah as one of the Stafford prisoners transferred to the Penitentiary at Millbank, London.
Eight hundred had been arrested and the sentences included:
54 transported for up to 21 years
146 sentenced to hard labour.