The Bishop of Worcester,
in rising to present a Petition from Worcester against the importation of foreign gloves, said, that he congratulated himself at the present moment, when so unkind a disposition was manifested in the country against the Bench of Bishops, in having an opportunity of showing that so large a portion of the community with which he was more connected had intrusted their interest in his hands. He only regretted that he could not do the subject justice, and he, therefore, earnestly hoped that some noble Lord, who was better acquainted with commercial matters than himself, would take it up, as he believed the glove makers of the country were labouring under great, difficulties, in consequence of the unfair competition to which they were exposed with the foreign 683 trade. It had been asserted in another place that the large importation of foreign skins was a proof that the condition of the trade was not in a declining condition. This statement he believed was not founded in fact, as he would endeavour to demonstrate. Until recently there were fifty manufacturers at Worcester each of whom made 50,000 pair of gloves a week. These were chiefly made from English sheep and lambskins, but the importation of foreign skins had the effect of changing the fashion, and no gloves could now find a market, unless they were made from foreign skins, or by foreign manufacturers. By these means the consumption of English skins of which those gloves called beaver gloves, were made, had fallen off two-thirds. The importation of foreign skins did not make up anything like this deficiency, and the consequence was, that many workmen were now thrown out of employment, which, of course added very much to the distress of the manufacturers, for the poor-rates had materially increased upon their diminished means of payment.
§ Petition to lie on the Table.