HC Deb 13 July 1831 vol 4 cc1189-90
Mr. Hunt

presented a petition numerously signed, by persons of property and influence, residing in Cropper Street, Manchester, describing the distressing effects which have been produced by the Corn-laws, and praying for their Repeal. A noble Lord opposite, on a former evening, had read a letter from somebody in London to somebody else in Lancashire, stating that he (Mr. Hunt) had expressed a wish, that petitions should be sent up to support him in his motion for the repeal of those laws. The people had very soon answered that call. The petitioners stated, "that the Corn-tax alone is a greater evil, and more severely felt in the country, than all the other taxes put together—that it has greatly lessened the demand for our manufactures abroad, and reduced the rate of wages at home, that the petitioners, though they labour hard for fifteen or sixteen hours in each day, are not able to earn enough to procure them the common necessaries of life, and that they now suffer more privations than the people of any other nation in the world; that they are obliged to live immured in damp cellars, or are, for the greater part, in overheated and unwholesome work-rooms; and that, in consequence of this unhealthy state, without sufficient supply of good food, thousands of the working classes are hastening to their graves, to which thousands have been already prematurely consigned by similar causes." As so many thousands had suffered, and were suffering, from the grinding effects of this unholy law, he hoped, that support would be given to his Motion on the subject, which stood for Friday, and that the whole system might be got rid of. It was his conviction, that the nation suffered more from the operation of these laws, than from the pressure of all the other taxes put together; though they paid taxes on every thing they eat, drink, wear, see, or touch. He would earnestly beg to call the attention of the noble Lord opposite to this subject. If ever it had fallen to his lot to visit the miserabledamp cellars, or, more properly speaking, dungeons, in which many of the poor operatives in Manchester and other parts of Lancashire reside—if he had seen those abodes of misery, and had witnessed some of the scenes of distress and despair that passed within them, he was certain that the noble Lord would be disposed to support a motion for the Repeal of the Corn- laws, by which so much wretchedness and misery had been produced.

Petition to be printed.

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