Saturday, 21 May 2016

21st May 1816: The Rev Charles Prescot sends the weavers petition to the Home Office

My Lord—

Yesterday Two Men delegated by the Weavers of this town & Neighbourhood requested me to permit a meeting for the purpose of forwarding a petition to the House of Commons stating their Grievances, & praying for such redress as the House might think fit to afford. I recommended their sending the Petition immediately to the Members for Cheshire, as much time might be lost by going about for probably fifteen-thousand signatures, & the inconveniences that attend large meetings be prevented.—I trust the small number of names will not prevent the petition being attended to, or it's going into a Committee

Many families are in a starving condition, numbers are & more will soon be out of work, they are almost driven to despair, the symptoms of intended rioting are stronger than, I recollect they were, previous to the breaking out of the Luddites, could any method be devis’d to alleviate the present distress, the probable mischief, extensive as it may be, might be prevented.—

I trust your lordship will excuse the liberty I take (being the only resident Magistrate in this Town) in  intruding myself upon you, & earnestly requesting your attention to this concern which seems materially to affect the peace of the Country to a great extent—

I remain with very great respect
Yr Lordship's most Obt Servt &c
Charles Prescot.

I inclose a Copy of the petition, & a printed paper circulated last night.—

The weekly earnings of a Weaver should have been stated of four-shillings, & not five;—

This letter can be found at HO 42/150.

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