Lacemakers' Memorial to the British Government

On 22 March 1848 the English Consul in Calais transmitted to Lord Palmerston the following petition:

To the Members of the British Government.
In accordance with the sentiments unanimously expressed at a meeting of the English workmen, convened for that purpose in the English church, at St. Pierre les Calais, on this day, March 21, 1848, the following memorial is respectfully presented to your Lordships.
The object of your memorialists is to direct your attention to the singular and painful circumstances in which they are placed by the changes which have been effected in the government of this country.
The present state of money affairs in this country, added to the entire want of confidence in the public mind, has reduced trade in every department to a perfect stand, and consequently left them without the means of obtaining a livelihood for themselves and families. It is also with extreme regret they feel it their duty to inform your Lordships that recent events have called forth feelings of an hostile character on the part of the French towards the English, which we hoped had long ceased to exist, thus rendering their position one of both insecurity and destitution.
We therefore implore you, as the rulers of the country which gave us birth, to take our case into your serious and immediate consideration.
Gloomy as are our prospects here, we feel convinced that our return to England would present no brighter picture, as the paralysed state of trade there holds out not the slightest hope of our obtaining employment; if therefore, we return to England, it will be with the certain prospect of becoming a burden to our countrymen. and inmates of the already too overcrowded workhouses.
Having therefore, put you in possession of the above facts, we take the liberty of suggesting the following plan by which you can render us effectual assistance.
The plan we propose is emigration to one of the British colonies, South Australia preferred, where workmen arc scarce and labour wanted, our experience having shown us the great advantage they possess who live under the protection of the British Government.
We, your memorialists pledge themselves to be men of good moral character and industrious habits, in the full possession of health and strength, and men whose feelings revolt at the idea of becoming a burden to their native land.
If, therefore, you can provide us with the means of free emigration, we shall cheerfully and gratefully accept them, but if unfortunately, it is out of your power to grant our request on these conditions we are quite willing to enter into an engagement to refund a part or the whole expense incurred after our arrival in any way in which you, in your discretion, may think fit.
Should the prayer of your memorialists be granted, you will confer a benefit upon a body of men, who will, in after life, look back with heartfelt gratitude to those who now rule the destinies of their native land.
Signed on behalf of the meeting Edward Lander, Chairman
backbuttonCommittee: 0. Lowe Joseph James John Clarke John Davies

Papers Relative to Emigration in House of Commons Papers 1847/8 Vol 47 p97 [see also p100]

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