HL Deb 30 June 1842 vol 64 cc781-3
Lord Brougham

said, that he rose to present a petition to which he wished, for a few minutes, to call the attention of the House. The petition was from a depautation now in town, composed of most respectable and humane individuals connected with the manufacturing districts of the North of England, and more particularly Lancashire, Cheshire, and the West Riding of Yorkshire. Some of these individuals were largely engaged in commerce, others of them were extensively engaged in manufactures, and others were ministers of various religious persuasions—men who from their callings, their station in society, their long and ample experience in various branches of business, and also from their character and ability, were well entitled to give an opinion as to the state of facts which came before them, and also to expect that those feelings of apprehension and even alarm under which they approached that House should be shared by their Lordships. He felt the greatest pain and anxiety in presenting this; petition. He had long known many of these petitioners, and had, while a Member of the other House, been connected with the districts from which they chiefly came; and, as he knew that the petition was signed by persons connected with different classes in society, by members of different sects in religion, and by men of various political parties, he could safely assert that the petition was wholly divested of party or political feeling. It was only by a sense of the duty which they owed to themselves and their neighbours, and, above all, to the persons dependent on them for employment and the means of subsistence, that they had been induced to address that House at the present moment, which they even now thought was not too late, and ask that their Lordships would apply a remedy to evils which existed to such a fearful extent in those most important districts. He did not cherish a hope that he should be able to obtain relief for them, and had, therefore, respectably, but firmly declined to do more than present their petition. After, however, the pressing and anxious requests that had been made to him, he could not persist in his refusal. He repeated, he could not resist their urgent request after contemplating the misery which they had described to him; and he would, therefore, at once state that he should bring forward a motion on the subject on a future day. He should now only discharge his duty by presenting this petition, which was signed by the chairman on behalf of the whole deputation, and the petitioners prayed that some ade- quate remedy might be immediately applied to the lamentable state of things which existed in their neighbourhoods. He had intended to have given notice for Thursday next, but, as his noble Friend, the Lord President had given a notice for that day, he should postpone it for a few days longer.

Petition laid on the Table.