§ Earl Stanhope
presented a Petition from the riband-weavers of Coleshill, Warwickshire, complaining of Distress. The Petition, the noble Lord remarked, was signed by 2,400 persons, who stated that they were involved in the deepest distress. They stated that riband-weaving had been reduced full fifty per cent; that, the workmen's wages on an average did not exceed 4s. a-week, and that out of 2,800 looms, which were formerly at work, there were at present 1,500 out of employment, and that they must be ir- 660 retrievably ruined, unless the Legislature interfered for their relief. He quite concurred with the petitioners in thinking that the distress and misery to which they were reduced had been mainly owing to the operation of that pernicious system called Free Trade.