HC Deb 02 September 1831 vol 6 c1027
Mr. Sadler

presented a Petition from the Weavers of the township of Aclington, in the county palatine of Lancaster, complaining of the extreme distress to which they were subjected; and two others from the Cotton-spinners of two parishes in Lancashire, against the exportation of cotton-twist. The petitioners stated, that they were reduced to the most destitute state. They were prisoners in their houses on the Sabbath day, for want of decent raiment to appear in. He was sorry to say, that he could bear testimony to the truth of the allegations of the petition. He had received a letter from an individual, who appeared to be a very intelligent man, who stated, that by the greatest efforts of industry, he could not earn more than 6s. per week, which was totally inadequate to the support of himself and family, and that, in consequence, he could not much longer abstain from seeking parish relief. He hoped the present Government would take some efficient means to improve the depressed state of the working classes.

Mr. Hunt

said, these unhappy petitioners were worse off than the persons confined in a gaol, who were sure to be fed, and many persons had actually been guilty of offences to be committed to prison rather than endure the hardships they suffered out of it. Many of those poor weavers earned no more than 4s. or 5s. a-week for the support of themselves and families. He believed they were more distressed than the Irish, of whom they heard so much.

Mr. Sadler

said, he feared, indeed, that prisoners in gaols were better fed than the petitioners. He had been assured that some of them would be unable to sustain their families much longer without relief.

Petition to be printed.