presented a petition signed by 50,000 persons, inhabitants of Manchester and its vicinity, praying the house to address the king, to neglect no opportunity of entering into a negociation for peace; and to afford such relief as in their wisdom might appear suited to the emergency of the case. The petition contained a vivid description of the distressed situation of the persons whose names were subscribed; and stated their conviction that their distress arose from' the continuance of the war.
§ Mr. Whitbread
said that this petition, signed by 50,000 persons, in addition to the thousands who had petitioned before, laid a great weight of responsibility on ministers. An insinuation had been thrown out, that some gentlemen on his side had had recourse to artifice, in order to encourage these petitions. He knew nothing of any such artifice; and firmly believed, that this petition was wrung from the persons subscribing it by their distresses. The language of the petition was unexceptionable, and even highly respectful. Unless ministers, therefore, shelved a serious disposition to enter into a negociation, it would be the duty of the house to interfere, and address the throne on the subject.—The Petition was ordered to lie on the table.