§ Mr. Brougham
presented a Petition from the weavers and other working manufacturers of the town of Chorley and the neighbourhood there of, setting forth,
"That the petitioners have been, for a long time, labouring under a state of the utmost distress, as the House will easily conceive, on being informed, that whereas the price of the necessaries of life has been nearly doubled since the commencement of hostilities with France in 1793, the wages of the petitioners are reduced two thirds; and that, in these afflicting circumstances, the feelings of the petitioners are greatly aggravated by their knowledge, that, whilst their utmost exertions in labour cannot save them from starving, vast sums of the public money are bestowed upon individuals, as the salaries of sine- 1157 cure places, that is to say, of places, the holders of which receive wages without performing any work for the same; and that, in proof of their assertion, that vast sums of money are thus bestowed, selecting a few instances out of a great variety of the same nature, they beg leave to remind the House, that the right honourable George Rose holds the sinecure office of clerk of the parliament, with a salary of 3,278l. per annum; that the right hon. George lord Arden holds the sinecure offices of register of the high court of admiralty and of register of the high court of appeal for prizes, for which he receives, clear of deductions, 12,554l. per annum; and that the earl Camden, and the marquis of Buckingham, hold the sinecure offices of tellers of the exchequer, for which offices they receive, the latter 23,093l. the former 23,117l. per annum; and that the petitioners have, from time to time, been informed of large sums of money being paid out of the public purse to distressed foreigners, on which head, passing by the sums paid as subsidies to the Portuguese and Sicilian courts, to the duke and duchess of Brunswick, and divers other German refugees, they beg leave to call to the recollection of the House the sums paid to the exiled catholic clergy and laity of France, which amounted, in the year 1794, to 99,548l. 7s. 6d. 1795, to 135,890l.; 1796, to 199,890l.; 1797, to 177,480l. 9s. 7d.; 1798, to 161,333l. 7s.; 1799, to 187,886l. 10s. 11d.; 1800, to 195,713l. 5s. 1d.; 1801, to 180,772l.; and that, though the petitioners presume to be of opinion that, in the season of their distress, they have as strong a claim upon the public purse of the nation as any foreigners whatsoever; and though they are apprized that the precedent of the special distribution in the year 1801 of 24,226l. to the parishes where the weaving of silk is carried on in London, would justify them in applying to the House for direct pecuniary relief, they deem it more becoming them as Englishmen, to declare to the House, that they would far prefer, to the receipt of any extraordinary assistance, a dependence upon their own unimpeded industry; and that they therefore do respectfully, but earnestly, call upon the members of the House well to consider the premises, and by the powers by the constitution vested in the House, to check and restrain the extravagant expenditure of the public money, which, by occasioning the imposition of enormous taxes, in- 1158 creases the price of the necessaries of life, and to compel his Majesty's ministers to adopt a line of policy which, by conciliating neutral nations, may affect the revival of trade, which alone, by renewing the strength of the nation, can, under the Divine Providence, finally secure to it the blessing of an honourable and lasting peace."
Ordered to be referred to the Committee on the Petitions against the Orders in Council.