HC Deb 01 March 1836 vol 31 cc1124-5
Mr. Eaton

, in rising to present a petition, said, Sir, I trust the House will grant me their indulgence for a few moments while I once again refer to the extreme difficulties which now prevail in presenting public petitions. I have received a most important petition from Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely, and although I am at this moment so unwell that my medical adviser desired me not to quit my bed, still I conceived it my duty to the petitioners to use every means in any power to present their petition. I hold in my hand an important petition signed by a very numerous, loyal, and most respectable body of the landowners and yeomanry of the county of Cambridge and Isle of Ely. It comprises signatures of men of every political shade of opinion, for all alike unite in seeking for redress and justice in their present embarrassed and almost hopeless state. The grievances which have long weighed so heavily upon the agricultural classes of this land, now press with such extreme severity upon all connected with the cultivation of the soil, that I have great reason to believe and fear that a large portion of the rent of England is paid, not from, the profits of the farmers, but from the little capital amassed by honest industry in better times; and that this resource is now exhausted. I beg to submit to the House that the distress of this part of the community is felt with additional pressure by the honest and industrious labourer; and I must say, that the patient and hard-working husbandmen are most deserving of the public sympathy and assistance. It is my duty to inform the House that the petitioners have frequently preferred their most humble petitions to this honourable House, in the hope that they would be deemed worthy the consideration of the Legislature; and they again entreat the attention of the House to their just demands; that they are in full hopes that their distress (which must be admitted by all) may be alleviated by the intervention of Parliament; but hitherto, unhappily, little or no relief has been afforded to them. I now congratulate the petitioners and the country on the appointment of an Agricultural Committee within these walls, which, although not composed as fully as I could have hoped, of a larger proportion of the representatives of strictly agricultural counties, will still, I most sincerely trust, do justice to the humble and distressed farmer, and not only investigate the causes of this general calamity, but devise some salutary measures to prevent the recurrence of it for the future. I now beg to submit that the petition be read, and submitted for the further consideration of the Agricultural Committee.

Agreed to. Petition referred.