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Scotland and the Scots, 1707-2007

Christian Auer

VII. Politics, radicalism and national identity

37. Parliamentary Reform, 1816

Texte intégral

1The following article is a report of a meeting that was held in Glasgow in November 1816.

2Glasgow Chronicle, 12 November 1816.

Distresses of the People

Agreeable to intimation, a public meeting of the burgesses, and other inhabitants of the borough of pollokshaws, was held on Tuesday, 5th Instant to consider the propriety of Petitioning his Royal Highness the Prince Regent on the unprecedented Distresses of the Country;

Mr Henry Patrick, in the Chair.

The following Resolutions were unanimously agreed to:


1st That the present deplorable state of the nation, our unprecedented sufferings and misery, are owning to a corrupt House of Commons and want of an equal, fair, and free Representation of the People.

2nd That our blood and treasure have been wasted in an unjust and unnecessary war, which has entailed endless misery on ourselves, and blasted the fair prospect of freedom to Europe; that such unjust policy was contrary to the avowed purpose of the war, subversive of the right of nations, and disgraceful to our country.

3rd That our present sufferings and misery have arisen to a melancholy pitch, unprecedented in the annals of our country; that we have long groaned under the most incessant toil, submitted with the most patient fortitude to privations of every kind, that we are loaded by the most grievous and intolerable taxation, and the public money is notoriously squandered among an host of sinecure pensioners, who are rolling in splendour and profusion at the expense of every comfort of a laborious population.

4th That our Ministers are making the most rapid and dangerous strides towards a Military Government, by tenaciously upholding a powerful and expensive Army in a time of peace and universal distress; confident in their power they have already shown the utmost disregard of the united voice of the People, raised against the late impolitic, unjust, iniquitous, and calamitous Corn Bill, the baneful effects of which are too universally felt to require any illustration.

5th That the Commercial Interests of the Country have been disregarded and shamefully neglected in the late numerous and expensive Treaties; that our Manufacturers are carefully excluded from the ports of Europe, by the very Princes restored by British bayonets; hence the long, gloomy, and swelling list of ruinous bankruptcies; hence the thousands of idle, ruined and starving mechanics; hence the dire necessities that have impelled Britons to raise their hands for the scanty charity of a Frenchman and a Bourbon.

6th That the Nation is divided into two classes, a neglected and wretched Populace, and a favoured and overgrown Landed Interest; that our most able mechanics are compelled to wander in foreign climes in search of an asylum, where they may reap the reward of their industry and experience those comforts of life denied them in their own.

7th That a Petition be presented to his Royal Highness the Prince Regent intreating him to give ear to the united voice of a loyal, but wretched People praying him to assemble Parliament, and demand an instant abolition of all sinecures, pensions, grants and emoluments not merited by public services, to introduce the most rigid economy in every department of public expenditure, and restore the People their just and valuable right of annually choosing their own Representatives.

8th That it is the opinion of this Meeting that the inhabitants of every City, Town and Village in the Empire should come forward with their Petitions, and use every lawful and constitutional effort to forward a Reformation of the Commons House of Parliament.

9th That the Thanks of this Meeting be given to Major Cartwright, Sir Francis Burdett and Lord Cochrane, to the Editors of the Statesman, Globe and Morning Chronicle Newspapers, to Messrs Cobbett and Hunt, and the Members of the Hampden Club, for their unwearied exertions in the Cause of Reform, and in the honourable cause of a suffering People.

10th That these resolutions be published in the Glasgow Chronicle, and the thanks of the Meeting be given to the Editor.

henry patrick

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