Imágenes de página

on earth could reasonably interpose their branches of trade that might be opened in authority or their influence between two lieu of it. I have been on board of and parties so circumstanced, and it was far from inspected several of the vessels employed being improbable that that island would in these inhuman voyages, and I do not one day be in the hands of France. He think there are any ships in the world betmost seriously called upon their lordships ) ter qualified for transports for conveying to consider what might probably be the con- troops than they are. It has been also ursequence of such a re-assumption of power, ged against the present bill, that the passing by the natural enemy of this country, if at of it would destroy one of the finest nurthe same time we were to have abolished our series for our seamen; but this cannot be only mode of supplying our islands with correct, for I know, from an actual examilabourers Would they not, with an island nation into the subject, that only one half of so great extent at their command, would of the seamen employed on any one they not continue to import; and if they slave voyage, returned to this country, could not frustrate our views of abolition the rest generally dying on the voyage. by smuggling, would they not at least on In fact, there are two-thirds more seathe first appearance of misunderstanding men lost to this country in this manner between them and Great Britain, foment than the boasted nursery of the African disturbances in our islands, and endeavour slave trade produces. It has been said to accomplish that most prevailing wish of against the abolition, that the natives of their present ruler, by the destruction of Africa would murder the prisoners they British commerce?

brought down to the coast with the view of The Duke of Gloucester.-My lords, 1 exposing them to sale, but I do not think cannot find language sufficiently strong to that one single life would be lost in this express iny abhorrence and detestation of manner.-His highness concluded with rethis abominable traffic in human blood; peating his abhorrence of the trade, and and I think the present question is the most gave his warmest support to the bill, momentous that ever came before your The Earl of Morton opposed the bill, . lordships: for what question can be more and recommended to their lordships to momentous, or come more closely home pause, and to consider whether the abolito our bosoms and our feelings of huma- tion of the trade would not be attended nity, than that which concerns the welfare, with worse consequences in the view of huthe happiness, nay even the lives of my- manity, than its continuation. riads of our fellow creatures ? Adverting to The Earl of Westmoreland said, that in the resolution of last parliament, now on the British West-India islands the life of the your lordships' table, declaring that the slave was protected by the law as well as Slave Trade is contrary to justice, huma- that of any other inhabitant. The house had nity, and policy, can you still allow British been told that they should prevent the consubjects to carry on what has been thus tinuance of oppression and cruelty; but the solemnly declared to be unjust, inhuman, question was not as to how far we ought to and impolitic? It has been told us from exert ourselves to put an end to practices the opposite side of the house, that of that nature, but how far any thing that the mortality among the slaves has of was in our power was capable of effecting late

years decreased, and that the negroes that purpose. Portugal, for instance, bad were flourishing; but I can tell your lord- po other means of working her mines than ships the real cause of that decrease in by the employment of slaves; could we mortality: It arises not from the situation suppose that she would give it up? indeed of the slaves baving been actually ame- nothing had been said about her. Of liorated, but from the encouragement France there had been something like a given by some planters to the breed of free whisper that she would relinquish the trade, negroes, instead of purchasing slaves. They and it was then inferred that Spain would find, from experience, that the former, follow her example. America had promithough, perhaps, the slower method of sed, but had not yet given up the traffic; procuring a supply of labourers, is yet by and who could answer for Carolina, that it far the most beneficial in the end to the would agree to the resolutions of the other planters, as it is also more consonant to states on that head ? If we abandoned this the feelings of humanity. As to the ruin trade, it was certain that some others that will fall upon the merchants engaged would take it up, who might not act with in this traffic, if it is put a stop to, I have so much humanity as the British traders; to observe, that there are many new and with it we should abandon the employment of one million capital, about 6 or 700 the present circumstances, a strong incenships, and from 16 to 20,000 seameo. cive to overwork the negroes, and, conseThis, he maintained, would occasion the quently, to curtail the population. loss of nearly one-third of the amount of Lord Sidmouth felt it a paiuful duty British imports and exports. He had a to be obliged to differ from some of his stronger objection yet to make against the noble friends, particularly on a subject adoption of this measure, namely, that if which involved questions of justice and such a system were acted upon, no proper- humanity. To the measure itself he had no ty could be reckoned safe which could fall objection, if it could be accomplished within the power of the legislature; upon without detriment to the West-India ise such a principle as this the tithes of the lands; but this he did not think possible, clergy, and the very freehold estates of the under existing circumstances. Instead, landholders might be sacrificed to field-therefore, of abolition at present, he begged preaching and popular declamation. His leave to suggest, that the best plan would conduct, however, should never receive the be to throw certain difficulties in the way smallest degree of influence from such of the trade, which may finally, and perpowers as those, and though he should sechaps at no distant period, operate as a bar the presbyterian and the prelate, the me- to it altogether. For this purpose, be thudist and field-preacher, the jacobin and would suggest that a tax be laid on every the murderer unite in support of it, in that slave imported iuto any of the islands, gra. house he would raise his voice against it. dually raising this impost, till the merchants

The Earl of Selkirk could not reconcile should of themselves give up the traffic. to his mind the distinctions made by the With respect to the West ladies themselves, noble earl who had just sat down. If he he would recommend the advice of that was right in his conception of what had great man (Mr. Burke), viz. that churches fallen from that noble lord relative to the should be built for the negroes in the dispensations of Providence, it went the islands, and that they should be instructed length of asserting, that no cognizance in the morality and doctrine of the Chrisshould be taken of any moral offence, how- tian religion; he would also have them ever aggravated or injurious to society. united by the ties of matrimony, as the If human duties were thus estimated, and first step towards civilization, and the future vicious deeds only considered by that cri- improvement of their condition. With these terion, rapine and outrage would be con- advantages, and the blessing of being prostantly at work, and jurisprudence be ren- tected by our laws, he thought that the dered incapable of repressing the commis- tinne would arrive for emancipating them. sion of crimes, by merited punislıments. The Earl of Rosslyn said, he was conThere was also another observation made vinced that the immediate abolition of this by that noble earl, with which it was im. odious traffic would be attended with nd possible to coincide, unless evidence was injurious effects to the colonies, to the cul produced at the bar, that the climate of the ture of which the negroes already imported West Indies was unfavourable to the pro- were fully competent, if properly treated. pagation of the human species. In coun. Such treatment, it might be said, it was tries where the means of human subsistence the obvious interest of the planter to give were proportionate to the number of inha- the negroes, and therefore it might be in. bitants, the increase of population had al- ferred that they experienced it already, and ways been found progressive. This prin- yet that importation became necessary to ciple had been acknowledged by all writers keep up the supply. This, however, he on the subject, and had been unanswerably was prepared to contradict. It was only explained in the able work of Mr. Malthus from the strongest impulse of self-interest, upon population. The noble lord pro- from the most cogent persuasion of necesceeded to discuss the causes which were sity, that men of such habits were likely to likely to increase or lessen the black popu- adopt the practice of humanity. When lation in the West Indies, and concluded unable to procure any more negroes, they with the inference, that after the proposed would feel the urgency of taking care of abolition, the West-India planters would those they already had. With regard to naturally look to moderate profits, and a the statement of the noble earl (Westmorprogressive increase of the negroes on their land), as to the various description of perestates; whereas, the thirst of immediate sons who concurred in a wish to produce gain, and the opportunity of speedily sup- the abolition of this trade, he thought that plying a deficiency of labourers, was under forined a forcible argument in favour of the measure before the house. For the concur- cient supply could be kept up for every reuce of men of all religions, of all political purpose of cultivation, and such treatment parties, and even of those who professed no the good effects of which he had witnessed religion, in support of this measure, served in St. Christopher's and other of the colo. to shew that to all who were susceptible nies, was not, be was very much afraid, of a sentiment of humanity, who were ca- ever likely to become general, until the planpable of discriminating between the beauty ters were precluded from farther supplies. of virtue and the deformity of vice, this Lord Eldon considered that the abolition traffic was abhorrent. With such an una- of the British traffic would by no means nimity of sentiment, with such a combi- imply that of the Slave Trade in general, nation of powers, could that house, without which could still be carried on by other fixing a stain upon its character, without states. The present had been called a incurring universal odium, besitate to ac- measure founded on justice, humanity, cede to the motion of his noble friend? and policy. If it were so in justice and

Earl St. Vincent deprecated the measure, humanity, he would agree that it was so which, if passed, would, he was satisfied, in policy. But it was not clearly made out have the effect of transferring British ca- that it was so, in justice and humanity. It pital to other countries, which would not was, however, necessary that it should be be disposed to abandon such a productive shewn that this measure would promote the branch of trade. As to the humanity so views of justice and humanity more than much contended for, it would be well if they were at present promoted. The noble lords reflected upon this question, learned lord then entered into a review of whether humanity was consulted by the the measures adopted by parliament reabolition. If it were, their arguments specting this trade, which, he contended, would be well founded. But, from his had been sanctioned by parliaments in own experience, be was enabled to state, which sat the wisest lawyers, the most that the West-India islands formed Para- learned divines, and the most excellent dise itself, to the negroes, in comparison statesmen; and he declared, that on this with their native country. Knowing this, subject he had always differed from his which, upon due enquiry, it was in the illustrious friend Mr. Pitt. He adverted power of any noble lord to ascertaip, he to Mr. Locke, lord Somers, and others, was surprised at the proposition before the and they did not think it wise or politic to house ; and, considering the high cha- oppose it. racter and intelligence of the noble pro- The Bishop of Durham supported the poser, he declared that he could account abolition, and considered the Slave Trade in no other way for bis having brought it as wholly inconsistent with the spirit of forward, but by supposing that some Obi- the Christian religion. He reminded the mian had cast his spell upon bim. (A laugb). house of the story of Themistocles, who

Lord King argued forcibly in support of proposed a measure by which the enemies the motion, which, in his opinion, nothing of the Athenians might be destroyed, withbut the sacrifice of every generous and out hazard to themselves; which was rea inanly sentiment to cold and low calcu- ferred to Aristides the Just: it was to lations of self-interest; nothing but a per- destroy their fleet, while they thought they version of justice and humanity, could in- were in safety. Aristides said to the Athé. duce any man to defend. And with regard nians, it could be done; but that it was to the reliance which some persons pro- unjust: upon which the people, with one fessed to place upon the equity and feel- voice, said it should not be done, for that ings of the colonial legislatures, he begged the Athenians would not owe their safety to know if a perversion of justice and hu- to injustice. . The British people should manity were supported in that house, what not be surpassed by the Athenians in a love was to be expected- from less enlightened of justice; and therefore, if there were any and liberal assemblies ?

profits to us, in the continuation of the Lord Northesk detailed several instances African Slave trade, we should forego of wanton cruelty practised upon the ne- them. We were a people more favoured groes in the colonies by their masters, who by Heaven than any other nation had been were scarcely under the controul of any law from the commencement of time to the with regard to their conduct. If humane present hour ;i but we should beware how treatment were practised towards tbe ne- we forfeited the protection of Provigroes, he was certain, from his knowledge dence, by continual injustice; for if we of the interior of the colonies, that a suffi-| did, we should look in vain bereafter for the glories of the Nile or of Trafalgar. called to its enormity. The Christian relie

The Earl of Maira took a general view gion had tended to abolish slavery in Euof the subject; he thought that the evi- rope, and its principle equally led us to dence upon the table of the house must be abolish the detestable traffick in human besufficient to convince their lordsbips of the ings on the coast of Africa. The noble necessity of abolishing this sanguinary lord contended, on the authority of Mr. traffic. If noble lords were not satisfied Park, that the demand for slaves tended to with this evidence, he referred them to perpetuate wars in the interior of Africa, Holy Writ, he referred them to that great and maintained that if the market were tawork of our forefathers the Old Testament, ken away, the horrors which led to its sup. and that great Commentator upon that ply would cease. He insisted that if the work, whose maxim was, “ Do unto others trade were abolished, the stock of negroes as you would they should do unto you." in the West Indies would be kept up by

Lord Hawkesbury adniitted that the slave the ordinary means of increase, which trade was a great political evil, and that could not be the case while the trade conit was desirable to put an end to it; but tinued, and the interest of the planters considering that slavery had been permit- found its account in a different system. ted under the Jewish dispensation, that He maintained that it was impossible to there was no express probibition of it in believe that the state of a negro in the the Christian; that it was a condition of West Indies was such as to lead him to mankind which many great and wise men prefer it even to slavery in Africa, and it in all ages had sanctioned, he was not was absurd to think so, considering the prepared to say, that to allow slavery was new kind of labour to which he was a crime. Nevertheless, combining slavery condemned, when he had never been acand the slave trade, he thought that it was customed to such habits, and when he matter of regret the latter had ever ex-must be torn from his country and connecisted, and that it was desirable to abolish tions. He was convinced, too, that, far it. The question was, however, whether from weakening, the measure would tend it could be abolished by the proposed to the security of our islands, and he measure, and whether the consequences shewed from the instance of Barbadoes, would be beneficial to the nations of Afri. and that in the cases where the importation ca ? He contended that the Slave Trade in of negroes was the least, the proportion of Africa had subsisted before Europeans had whites to blacks was greatest. The noble entered upon the trade, and he doubted lord concluded with a pathetic allusion to whether their withdrawing from it would the sentiments of Mr. Fox on this subject. put an end to the evil, or tend so much as Mr. Fox had often told him that the two was argued to the internal peace and im-objects nearest his heart were, the restora. provement of Africa. He denied, however, tion of peace, and the abolition of the slave that our withdrawing from it would abolish trade, and when, by the shuffling of the the trade; and if it only shifted hands, the French government be anticipated disapchange would be to the disadvantage of pointment in the former, he consoled bimthe negroes, and of the cause of humanity. self with the hope that the latter might be

Lord Holland said, that the arguments of obtained. The noble lord mentioned with the learned lord (Eldon) respecting the approbation the exertions of others in this opinions of former statesmen and legisla-cause, and particularly of Mr. Wilberforce, tors, lord Somers, Mr. Locke, &c. would, whom, though he was hardly acquainted in their application, put a stop to all im- with him, he should always cousider, 'notprovement. But could it be supposed withstanding any past or any future differthat so great and wise a man as Mr. Locke, ences of opinion on other points, as an hoafter reading the evidence which lay on the nour to his country and to human nature table respecting the slave trade, would on account of the zealous, able, and pergive it bis sanction? The evil was now severing efforts he had made for the aboli. exposed, and could not be defended. Astion of this odious traffic. well might we be told that the Reformation The Earl of Suffolk said a few words in was unnecessary, as it might be said, could support of the bill; after which their lord. a reverend prelate be more wise than sir ships divided, T. More, or more learned than Erasmus. Contents 72 ; Proxies 28 ... 100 It was in vain, therefore, to say that the Non-Contents 28; Proxies 8 . slave trade was justified by the authority of those whose attention had never been Majority ....




lect committees were final relative to the Thursday, February 5.

elections, but from the circumstance of the

chairman of the Maldon Committee having [MINUTES.] The house at its meeting given a double vote in the lale case, whereproceeded to ballot for committees, to try by one member was seated, and another and determine the merits of the Petitions deprived of his seat, he thought this art complaining of the late returns for the ought to be regulated. It was on that county of Norfolk, and the borough of ground, that he proposed to give notice of Plymouth. The following were the com- a motion to amend the Grenville Act. The mittees appointed: For Norfolk, Henry hon, member fixed his motion for Monday Baring, est. Mark Wool, esq. Jord Mor- next.--Mr. Atkyns Wright presented at the peth, T. W. Plumier, esą. A. Atherly, esq. bar, the minutes of the evidence taken be. C. Western, esq. ft. T. Stuart, esq. Henry fore the Penrhyn Committee. Ordered to Parnell, esq. Robert Williams, esq. Charles lie on the table, and to be printed.—The Adams, esq. J. Kingston, esq. Wm. Praed, bouse having gone into a committee of the es. Owen Williamis, esq. Nominees, G. whole house, to consider of the several H. Rose, esq. Charles Durdas, esq.--For acts relative to the Trade of the Cape of Plymouth, J. Barham, esq. H. Willough - Good Hope, Mr. Hobhouse in the chair; by, esq. Wm. Roscoe, esq. R. B. Robson, it was resolved, That the chairman be diesq. E. Desborough, esq. Wm. Cavendisii, rected to move for leave to bring in a bill esq. John Calvert, esq. hon. W. Hill, Lord to authorise his Majesty for a time to be Rancliffe, bon. Wm. Maul, Joseph Crips, limited, to make regulations respecting the esq. James Brogden, esq. T. Godfrey, esq. Trade and Commerce of the Cape of Good Nominees, Wm. Cartwright, esq. Jonathan Hope. On the house being resumed, the Raine, esq.-Ordered, on the motion of chairman moved for and obtained leave lord Howick, that the order for calling to bring in a bill accordingly.--The Lord over the house be renewed for Tuesday Advocate of Scotland moved, that the order next: also, that the names of such mem for the committal of the Scotch Clergy bill bers as shall be absent on that day be re-should be discharged. The bill, of which ported to the house on such day as the lie had given notice, to vest the powers house should direct, and that those for of the Commissioners of Teinds in the whose absence a sufficient excuse could not court of Exchequer, would embrace the be assigned, should be taken into the custody object of the bill which he now wished to of the serjeant at arms.--The Speaker ac- withdraw. The order was accordingly disquainted the house, that the Worcester Pe- charged. filiou having been appointed to be taken (THIRD MILITARY REPORT-CONinto consideration on Tuesday last, at half DUCT OF MR. ALEXANDER DAVISON.) past three o'clock, and W. Gordon, esy. Mr. Rose, in rising to make his proposed the petitioner, not having appeared pur- motion for the production of the opinion suant to the act, within one hour after the of the Attorney and Solicitor General, repetition was ordered to be taken into con- lative to the case of Mr. Alexander Da. sideration, he had certified the recognizances vison, disclaimed all idea of imputing any in t'is case to his majesty's court of Exche neglect to the government in the perforquer.- Mr. Simeon gave notice that, in mance of its duty. The principal differconsequence of an extraordinary circum- ence between himself and the noble lord stance that had taken place in the Maldon (H. Petty) was ihis. The noble lord was Election Committee, lie should, on a future for leaving the natter to the management day, move for leave to bring in a bill to of the executive government. He thought explain and amend the Grenville Act res that where a parliamentary commission was specting election committees, The hon. appointed to examine into the public exmember was proceeding to detail the penditure, the prosecutions.ought to be congrounds of his motion, when the Speaker ducted at the instance, and under the direcbegged to remind the hon. gent. that the tion of this house, rather than be left to house confided all matters touching Elec- the government. He had no intention tion Petitions to its committees, and that, whatever to convey th idea, that blame according to the practice of the house, the rested any where. He did not for a mohon. gentleman ought to confine himself to ment suppose, that the ecutive power had stating the object of his motion. Mr. Si- not done its duty in this affair, nor did he meon was aware, that the decision of se- impute to it any wish to protect delinquen. VOL. VIII.

2 X

« AnteriorContinuar »