Hampden Club petition

A petition printed in London, possibly for the London Hampden Club, December, 1816. (HO 40/3/5 f944)


To the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled. The Petition of the undersigned Inhabitants of

That your Petitioners have a full and immovable conviction, a conviction which they believe to be universal throughout the Kingdom, that your Honourable House doth not, in any constitutional or rational sense, represent the Nation:

That when all the People cease to be represented, the Constitution is subverted:

That Taxation without Representation is a state of Slavery:

That War, as a cause of excessive Taxes, being the Harvest of those who live by corruption, the cause and character of the War which commenced in 1793, your Petitioners now conceive to be, by the enlightened part of the Community, well understood:

That as the tremendous tempest of war is not to be stayed at the bidding of those in whose mad and wicked counsels it had its origin, so, it is probable, that the contrivers of the late war did not intend the magnitude and duration it attained; which magnitude and duration, by the portentous calamities now found in their train. Are fast opening the eyes of a deluded Nation to the evil deeds of its authors.

That now these wicked rulers themselves, if not infatuated, must know, that either usurpation which has divested the People of their Representation must be for ever put down; or the liberty of England must perish, and the security of property be annihilated:

That there is no property in that which any person or persons, any power or authority, can take from the people without their own consent.

That the scourging of a Taxation without Representation, is arrived at a severity too harassing and vexatious, too intolerable and degrading, to be longer endured without ceaselessly protesting against, and as unceasingly resisted by all possible means warranted by the Constitution, until redress be obtained.

That in such a condition of their Country, your Petitioners are shocked to behold contending factions, alike guilty of their Country’s wrongs, alike forgetful of her Rights, mocking the public patience with repeated, protracted, and disgusting debates, on questions of refinement in the complicated and abstruse science of Taxation, as if in such refinements, and not in a reformed Representation; as if in a consolidated Corruption, and not in a renovated Constitution, relief were to be found:

That in the discussions which they have witnessed, your Petitioners see nought but what hath a direct tendency to place the English People in a situation, in which the unrelenting lash of unconstitutional Taxation may, in all time to come, be laid on to the utmost extent of human endurance:

That instead of such a course, your Petitioners hold it to be self-evident, that there are not any human means of redressing the People’s wrongs, or composing their distracted minds; or of preventing the subversion of Liberty, and the establishment of despotism, unless by calling the collected wisdom and virtue of the Community into Council, by the election of a free Parliament;

Wherefore, considering that, through the usurpation of a Borough faction and other causes, the People have been put even out of a condition to assent to Taxes; and considering, also, that until their sacred Rights of Election shall be restored, no Free Parliament can have existence; your Petitioners pray that your Honourable House will, without delay, pass a law for putting the aggrieved and much-wronged People in possession of their undoubted Rights: — to Representation co-extensive, at the least, with direct Taxation; to an equal distribution, throughout the Community, of such Representation;—and to Parliaments of a continuance according to the Constitution, namely, not exceeding one year.

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