HC Deb 13 February 1806 vol 6 cc168-9
Admiral Berkeley

presented a petition of several woollen weavers, resident in or near die clothing towns and villages in the county of Gloucester, setting forth, "that the petitioners have for several years past suffered great hardships and distress, owing to certain master clothiers having, for their own emolument, violated those laws which parliament has from time to time enacted for the preservation and prosperity of the woollen manufacture, and for the due protection of the persons employed therein; and that the said laws have been so violated, under the pretence of their being obsolete; and that the said master clothiers, after their repeated applications to parliament for an indiscriminate suspension or repeal of nearly the whole code of existing laws had failed, at length, at the close of the session, in the month of July 1803, obtained a bill for suspending the said laws until the first day of July following, under, as the petitioners were informed and believe, a solemn pledge and assurance, that they would come forward early in the ensuing session with a bill for a general revision and regulation of the said laws, and owing to which assurance the petitioners forbore from opposing the said bill of suspension; and that from that period up to the present time the said master clothiers have not come forward with any bill of revision or regulation whatever, but have, during each succeeding session, waited till near its close, and then urged the want of time for investigation as a ground for their soliciting a further bill of suspension; and that during this prostracted suspension of the laws, the petitioners have been the afflicted spectators of their daily violation by the master clothiers, who have been making fortunes to themselves at the expense of those privileges, and of that employment, which parliament has held out and guaranteed to the petitioners as a reward for long and faithful services, and by such practices injurious to the ultimate reputation of the fabric; and that, under these circumstances, the petitioners pray that their case may be taken into speedy consideration, and that such relief may be afforded to them as to the house shall seem meet."—Ordered to lie upon the table.

Back to