HC Deb 23 February 1808 vol 10 c709
Col. Stanley

presented a Petition from the inhabitants of Oldham and its neighbourhood, in the county Palatine of Lancaster, setting forth, "That the petitioners experience great inconvenience from a considerable depression of their trade, a depression which causes a reduction in the wages of labour unprecedented in the most afflicting times heretofore known, and which renders it difficult for the most industrious and healthy workman to procure for himself and family the bare necessaries of life; that the manufacturer is unable to afford him any lasting relief, for, even with this reduced state of wages, he cannot find a market for goods that will return him a profit adequate to his expences and risks; that in the train of these distresses follow the increase of the poor rates, the numerous assignments, bankruptcies, and all the various acts whereby the property of others becomes injured and insecure; that the petitioners are persuaded, that the ultimate cause of most of the evils here complained of is the war in which we are unfortunately engaged, which has been prolonged to an unusual length, and which the powers of the continent alledge we intend to make perpetual, and under that pretext exclude our merchandize from the accustomed marts in their territory; that the petitioners conceive something ought to be done to convince the world that we cherish the idea of perpetual war as little as any other nation, when peace can be had with honour and safety, and that the most effectual way of answering such allegations would be to enter into Negociations for Peace; that the petitioners deprecate the very idea of perpetual war being entertained for a Moment by any order of men in this kingdom; and they conceive that a protracted one can he attended with no advantage to the interests of this country, as the destiny of Europe seems fixed beyond the power of us to alter; and the petitioners think it incumbent on them to state, that the uncertainty whether the relations of amity could be maintained between our government and that of the united states of America has contributed no little to increase the difficulties of our situation, and, in the event of a rupture between the two countries, in the present confined state of our commerce in Europe, certain ruin will be the consequence to a great number of the petitioners; and therefore praying, that the house will be pleased to present an address to his majesty,-advising him to enter into such arrangements for the immediate restoration of Peace, as the urgency of the case seems to require; but the petitioners do not request that the honour and security of the nation should be sacrificed to obtain for them a temporary relief from their sufferings; on the contrary, should our enemies, front any unjustifiable motives, be induced to make demands inconsistent with either, the petitioners will not repine at any privations they may endure till the contest can be brought to an honourable issue; but-they have the satisfaction. to think there will be few obstacles in the way of peace, from the Declaration of his Majesty, that the late negotiations broke off upon points not immediately affecting the interests of his Britannick Majesty, but those of his Imperial ally; in humble confidence the petitioners submit the matter to the wisdom of the house, not doubting but the important object of the petition will receive their candid consideration."—Ordered to lie upon the table.