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Petition of the Principal Manufacturers of the Borough of Bridgeport


A Petition of the principal Manufacturers of the Borough of Bridgport, in the County of Dorset, on behalf of themselves and thousands of others, Inhabitants of the said Borough and places adjacent, was presented to the House, and read, setting forth —

That the Petitioners being Master Manufacturers of Nets, Lines, and Twine, for the use of the Fisheries carried on on the respective shores and banks of New England and Newfoundland, and other parts of North America; as also of Canvass for Sails for the Vessels and Boats employed in the said Fisheries, have usually employed in the said Borough and the neighbouring Villages, several thousand labourers in the manufacture of the said articles, who solely depend thereon for subsistence, no other manufactory of any sort being carried on there; and that in consequence of the Non-Importation Agreements lately entered into in America, the Petitioners have not received, and find they are not this season to expect, a demand for a Shilling' s worth of Goods for those parts; and that the loss of that valuable branch of their trade distresses them the more, as from a consideration of the importance of the Fisheries, and the impossibility of carrying them on without Nets, Lines, &c˙, they had flattered themselves the Americans, in their Non-Importation Resolutions, would have made some exception in favour of these articles; and from thence, as well as in compassion to the poor labourers, were induced to continue their Manufactories, so that they have now large stocks of Goods on hand, of a construction peculiar to those parts, which will therefore be of little value to them without a return of this trade; and that from the necessity the Americans must be under of an immediate


supply of these articles for carrying on the Fisheries, the Petitioners apprehend Manufactories of them already are, or instantly will be set up there, or such other sources of supply discovered, and connections formed, as will forever deprive them of a return of this trade; and that, should this be the case, the Petitioners, already much distressed, shall become great and lasting sufferers; and their labourers, many of whom are already without employment, and the rest employed only in part, must inevitably be reduced to a condition deplorably miserable, being neither capable, nor having an opportunity of turning their hands to any other business; and therefore praying the House to take their and their poor labourers' present distress and impending ruin into consideration, and to grant such speedy and effectual relief as to the House shall seem meet.

Ordered, That the said Petition be referred to the consideration of the Whole House, to whom the Petition of the Merchants, Traders, and others, of the City of London, concerned in the commerce of North America, is referred.