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M, P,'s Petition The Premier.…

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M, P,'s Petition The Premier. I I Eighty-three M.P/&, including Lord Henry Bentdnck, the Rt. Hon. J. W. Gullard, the Rt. Hon. H. J. Tennant, J.'H. Thomas, and Jos. C. Wedgwood have signed a petition for the re- lease of the 1,500 conscientious objectors in pri- son. The petition was only running the last three days of the session, when a number of M.P.'s, who would otherwise have signed, were absent in their constituencies. It was forwarded to the Premier by Mr. Percy 'Alden, and read as follows:- To the Right Hon. David Lloyd George, 10 Downing Street, S.W. Sir,—We, the undersigned, representatives of all parties, beg to draw your attention to the continued imprisonment of conscientious ob- eietors, and to egress our earnest hope that the Government will now feel itself able to re- lease them forthwith. Many of us are entirely opposed to the point of view of these men, but we feel that whatever reasons of state existed for holding them in prison have now gone as a result of the armistice that has just been signed. Fifteen hundred men are in prison, over 700 of whom have now served terms of two years and more, and it is repugnant to our conception of British justice that they should continue to be punished for views, which however mistaken some of us believe them to be, are yet sincerely held. We urge that it would be a supreme act of chivalry if at this moment of National rejoicing the Government would set free those who have felt bound on conscientious grounds to oppose the feeling of the majority during the course of the war. Political prisoners have already been released in Germany, and it behoves us not to be behind-hand in our generosity towards op- posing minorities. Spiritual freedom is the foundation of all national greatness, and we are | confident that you will not hesitate to take such steps as will firmly establish that great principle for the citizens of this country. We would further remind v<iu that it was ex- pressl." stated when the Military Service Acts were under discussion that it was not the inten- tion of the State to imprison men for their con- scientious beliefs. Tf during the stress of a great war it has not been possible to live up to that high standard we urge that immediate ac- tion should be taken to remedy the injustice that has taken place. On these grounds we sincerely pray that you may advise His Majesty's Government to grant a general amnesty to all conscientious objectors at present in guard-rooms or prisons.

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