HC Deb 15 February 1805 vol 3 cc521-2
Mr. Wilberforce

expressed his opinion, that after the close investigation which this subject had undergone last session, and after the sense of the house upon it had been so decidedly taken, it was not necessary to trespass much upon their patience at present, reserving to himself the right of reply, if any objection should unexpectedly be started; he therefore moved, that the house do now resolve itself into a committee of the whole house, to consider the propriety of bringing in a bill for the abolition of the Slave Trade, in a time to be limited.

General Gascoyne

was at a loss to know whether the hon. gent. meant to introduce a bill, exactly similar to that of last session. He might perhaps rind, that the circumstances of the times had induced many of the members to change their opinion on the subject since that period.

Sir W. Young

said, he would oppose, in every stage of it, a measure, the very agitation of which, had been productive of irreparable mischief. The hon. gent. seemed to wish to avail himself of the success of his bill in that house in the last session, as a kind of precedent which ought to be followed, and to have it in contemplation to push the affair forward with a rapidity which its importance would not warrant. He called on gentlemen to give the subject complete consideration, to examine all the documents relative to it with the most serious attention, and not to forget that in their decision was implicated a very material branch of the commerce of the country, to which our power in general, and more particularly our naval power, was to be attributed.

Mr. Fuller

said, that so far from the sense of the house being taken on this bill in the last session, the fact was, that the sense of not one-sixth part had been taken.

General Tarleton

stated, that there were in Liverpool alone above 10,000 persons completely engaged in this trade, besides countless numbers who were in some way or other affected and benefited by it. He had received instructions from his constituents to oppose the hon. gent's, intentions with all his power.—The house having resolved itself into a committee,

Mr. Wilberforce

declared his surprise, that it should be insinuated he wished to press the matter with more haste than was consistent with propriety. If gentlemen would refer to the parliamentary journals, they would find that the proceedings were always the same. So far from any undue precipitation, he only meant to propose the first reading of the bill on Monday, and the second about Friday. He should now move, "that leave be given to bring in a bill to abolish the Slave Trade in a time to be limited."—Leave was accordingly given, and the report was received and agreed to.