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Editorial Adviser F.W. Torrington
Public Petitions are a most important documentary source for the study of British and world history in the nineteenth century. They covered a wide range of subjects including slavery, the industrial revolution, the Peterloo massacre and the transportation system as well as many religious issues and major issues affecting every town and village in Britain such as the repeal of the Corn Laws. Many petitions relating to Ireland are also recorded.
From 1817 selected petitions were printed in full in an appendix to the Votes and Proceedings of the House of Commons. This series of Appendices continued until 1890.
From 1833 a Select Committee was elected at the beginning of each session to print in extenso or in part, and to report on all petitions other than those that `complain of undue returns or relate to Private Bills'.
The two series (neither of which is contained in the Parliamentary Papers Bound Set) run in parallel but do not duplicate each other and together provide a complete printed record of petitions presented to the House of Commons.
1,220 microfiche including index for 1833-1852
Whether the change involves a print-to-electronic transition or a space reclamation project, there are bound to be questions, concerns and even resistance.
“These testimonies take the historical stories out of the realm of history and place them in the realm of the human.”