HC Deb 23 December 1830 vol 2 cc115-6
Mr. Callaghan

presented a Petition, signed by 100 persons, being Coopers, residing in the city of Cork, stating, that they are almost in a state of starvation, and praying the House to afford them the means of emigrating to British America. He begged leave to call the attention of his Majesty's Ministers to the subject, under the hope that they might take the case into consideration. The petitioners stated, that their present condition had been caused by the operation of an Act of Parliament, which passed the Session before last, for the purpose of regulating the butter trade of Ireland. They did not arraign the wisdom of the Legislature for passing that measure, but they wished to inform the House, that, in consequence of it, they had been reduced to a state of the greatest distress. There were no public institutions or funds at Cork for the relief of these poor persons; and the resources of the Mendicity Society were exhausted long ago. He agreed with the petitioners in their prayer, to remove them to our colonies in North America, which would be desirable, not only for the sake of humanity, but also because such a number of distressed persons might at any time occasion much mischief in a large commercial city like Cork.

O'Gorman Mahon

said, that the hon. Member had asked his Majesty's Ministers to take the subject into their consideration with a view to relieve the distress of those persons, and in almost the same speech he said, that he should most strenuously oppose the Repeal of the Union, which was the chief cause of the distress. The hon. Member called upon Government for assistance) because the poor man could not support himself and family, and the noble Lord had introduced a measure which would increase the distress, by preventing the growth of tobacco in Ireland, and by preventing the employment that cultivation afforded.

Mr. Callaghan

replied, that the petitioners did not impute their miserable condition to the Union, they merely prayed for relief; nor did he bring any charges against the Government, or say that the measure which ruined them was not devised with a view to the permanent good of the country. They considered their condition in a proper point of view; as occasioned by the superabundance of labour compared with the amount of capital, or means of employment. To this statement they confined themselves, and prayed the House to save them from starvation, and afford them the means of emigrating. Such was the language made use of by the petitioners.

Petition to be printed.