In 1811 a measure was introduced in Parliament by Lord Sidmouth at a time of political nervousness in government circles, to deal with the perceived threat of a growing number of preachers licensed under the Toleration Act. It would have effectively put in jeopardy Methodism's use of local preachers and even threatened the itinerancy itself. As a threat to religious liberties it was opposed by the Committee of Privileges, led by Thomas Allan and Joseph Butterworth, and by the Protestant Dissenting Deputies. A public petition was organized and in the face of growing opposition the Bill was dropped after its second reading. The incident marked a significant point in Methodism's self-awareness and a mutual hardening of attitudes on both sides of the Anglican/Nonconformist divide.