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Petition of the Merchants, Traders, and Principal Inhabitants


A Petition of the Merchants, Traders, and principal Inhabitants of the Town and County of Poole, was also presented to the House and read, setting forth —

That the Petitioners observe that a Petition is presented to the House from the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Commons of the City of London, in Common Council assembled, against the Bill mentioned in the preceding Petition; and that the Petitioners beg leave to observe, that the restraints intended to be laid upon the Newfoundland Fishery of the Colonies, mentioned in the said Bill, if carried into a law, will not by any means be injurious to Commerce, as the Petitioners against the Bill conceive, because the foreign markets can be amply supplied by extending the Newfoundland Fishery, of subjects resident in England; and that the annual produce of the Newfoundland Fishery, carried on by subjects resident in the mother country, exceeds five hundred thousand Pounds; and that the Newfoundland Fishery of the mother country is a constant nursery of Seamen for the Navy, that great bulwark of the Nation, every fifth man employed being, by the tenth of William the Third, obliged to be a Landman, a consideration of infinite weight, the Petitioners imagine, and this the more especially, as the profits of the trade centre entirely in this Kingdom; and that the profits of the Newfoundland Fishery carried on by the Colonies mentioned in this Bill, do not centre here; nor is the Newfoundland Fishery of the Colonies a nursery of Seamen for the Fleet,


because the Americans are not obliged by law to make use of Landmen, nor are the American Seamen compellable like the British Seamen, to serve their country in times of war; the Petitioners are therefore greatly alarmed, lest a Petition from so respectable a body as the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Commons of London, should, operate not only to their prejudice, but to the general prejudice of the Kingdom, on a point of such importance to the national prosperity, humbly submit the foregoing facts to the consideration of the House, and soliciting, no less for their own immediate advantage, than for the universal benefit of their country, such encouragement of the British Fishery to Newfoundland, as the Parliament shall think proper.