HC Deb 23 February 1807 vol 8 cc945-95
Mr. Manning

observed, that in the event of the bill for the abolition of the slave trade passing into a law, he should feel it his duty to move for the appointment of a committee to consider of the propriety of granting compensation to certain classes of persons, whose interest would be affected by it. He wished to ask his majesty's ministers therefore, whether they were authorised to accede to such a proceeding? The compensation he had in view, was much more limited than might be supposed, and he thought this the proper stage for him to lay in his claim on behalf of a few classes of persons, whom he thought, justly entitled to the consideration of the legislature. The first class were, those who had purchased land under commissions granted by his majesty for the sale of them. The next class, were those who had purchased lands on the faith of parliament, previous to the first agitation of this question. Another class, consisted of those who had suffered in their properties by insurrections of the negroes, or by wars or invasions on the part of the enemy. He did not propose that any compensation should be granted, except in cases where the claims should be approved of by commissioners appointed for the purpose. There were other classes of persons whose cases, though deserving attention, he did not then think it necessary to allude to, and he mentioned those he had enumerated, just to shew that his views of compensation were more limited than was generally supposed

Lord Howick

replied, that he was certainly not authorised, in this stage of the business, to give any consent to such a proceeding: at the same time he admitted the candid manner in which the hon. gent. had stated his views of the limited amount of compensations. He took the opportunity of repeating what he had said on a former night, that it was contrary to the practice of parliament, to declare beforehand what might be the amount of compensation to be granted for possible losses by proposed political regulations. This was all he could say then on the subject, as he was not authorised to consent to the proposition of the hon. gent

The order for resuming the debate on the question for going into a committee on the Slave Trade Abolition bill, being read,

Lord Howick

said, he never came to the discussion of any subject with more embarrassment, than on the present occasion. The question had been so often agitated, that every hon. member could not but be acquainted with all its details. Yet the measure was of such importance in itself, and he felt so much more deeply interested in it, than in any other measure that had been brought forward since he had a share in the administration of public affairs, that he could not reconcile it to himself to bring the measure forward in that new parliament, without stating those facts, and that evidence upon which alone this question ought to rest. And in this he felt the difficulty of selection, lest he should tire the house by being too prolix, or omit any material part. There was at this moment no disposition to question the principle of this measure. It was universally admitted by the merchants, the planters and all descriptions of persons, that the slave trade, so far as regards Africa, was unjust and impolitic, founded in robbery, kidnapping and murder, and affording an incentive to the worst passions and crimes. He was relieved, therefore, from proving that part of the case. He was also relieved from the necessity of demonstrating the evils of the middle passage. No man, after the discussions that had taken place, could be prepared to contend for the luxuries of the middle passage. He left the hon. general to the enjoyment of his feelings, who had considered the slave trade so great a blessing, that if it were not in existence at present, he should propose to establish it. This traffic was said to be supported by the sanction of Scripture; but to that observation he should reply in one sentence, that it was contrary to the fundamental principles of Christianity, irreconcileable with that summary of Christian duty, "to do unto others, as you would they should do unto you." The principle was now given up, and the ground of justification narrowed to a question of policy and justice. It was said not to be politic to abolish a trade that afforded such ample revenues for our commercial prosperity, and it was represented as unjust to the merchants, shipowners, and planters, whose properties were to be affected by the measure. He admitted that they were bound not to act unjustly to our own merchants, and shipowners, but in doing justice to them they should take care that they did not commit injustice against the inhabitants of Africa. No ultimate good was to be procured by means of immediate evil. But in place of doing injury to the West-India property by this measure of abolition, which was now about to be accomplished, he should shew that the West Indies would be benefited and improved by it. The persons interested in this measure were either the merchants engaged in the trade, the shipowners, or the planters; and if he should shew that none of their interests would be injured by the measure, he was confident all opposition to it must cease. The noble lord here entered into a comparative statement of the amount of the tonnage engaged in the trade to Africa, and in the general export trade of this country, not including the export from Ireland, or the coasting trade, the result of which was that in the year 1805, the African tonnage was not quite 1–52d part of the whole export tonnage; and the seamen employee not quite 1–23d part of the seamen in the general trade. He wished gentlemen to consider, therefore, whether, in the flourishing state of our commerce, employment would not be found for this shipping, if not embarked in this traffic. The noble lord then shewed by a similar comparative statement, that the proportion of the capital embarked in the African trade, was, on the average of ten years preceding the year 1800, one 24th part of the whole capital of the export trade. That capital must have since been reduced to a still lower proportion, by the operation of the slave carrying bill, and the bills which prohibited the importation of slaves into the colonies conquered from the enemy. What remained now was only a remnant of the trade for the supply of the old British colonies. The measures he had alluded to, had reduced that capital 4–7ths, so that there remained in the trade a capital which was not more perhaps than 1–80th of the whole export trade capital. The number of slaves yearly imported was but 15,000, which gave a capital of 250,000l. The value of the whole of the exports of this country was in 1805, 55 millions; so that, assuming the capital in slaves at double what he had stated, or 500,000l. it would be but 1–110th part of the whole export capital; and when they considered the increase and prosperity of our commerce, notwithstanding the unjustifiable means taken by the enemy to stop its progress, there could be no doubt that various ways might be devised of employing the capital to advantage. It had been stated that the measure would ruin Liverpool, and cause the loss of the whole of its revenue from dock duties, which revenue, however, was stated at only 5000l. To shew the fallacy of such a statement, he had only to direct their attention to certain facts contained in the accounts upon the table. In 1772, this country employed 175 ships in the African trade, of which 100 were from Liverpool; the number of vessels in this trade was reduced in 1779 to 28, of which 11 were from Liverpool. In the same year, the dock duties produced but 4,552l.; whereas, in the latter, they had produced 4,957l.; a satisfactory proof that the dock duties did not depend upon the slave trade. It had been said that this trade afforded a good supply of seamen to the navy. But this he denied. It appeared by the muster-books from Liverpool, which had been laid before the house in 1793, that the mortality amongst the sea- men in that trade was to the mortality in the West-India trade as eight to one. A traffic, therefore, so destructive of the seamen employed in it, could not be considered beneficial to the navy. The readiness with which the men entered the king's ships on their arrival in the West Indies, shewed what their opinion of that trade was. The practice was for men to desert to the merchant service in every other branch of trade, but from this they voluntarily entered the king's ships. What was to be thought of the policy of procuring such an improvident supply, if even it were to be admitted, that the trade did afford a supply to the navy?—Having thus proved that no material loss would result from the abolition in point of tonnage for exportation, or in point of supply to the navy, the noble lord proceeded to consider the effects of this measure upon the West-India islands. Those who were averse to the abolition, did not insist so much upon its effects with regard to the further improvement of the islands, as upon the loss which would be sustained in their present cultivation by the excess of the deaths over the births. But, before he entered upon the general principle of population, and the experience of other countries, he would examine how the case stood with regard to those islands. Returns had been procured from various islands previous to the year 1800; and subsequent to that, queries had been put to them with a view to obtain additional lights respecting their situation. To these the answers were partial and defective, but as far as they went, they confirmed the calculations made by Mr. Pitt in the year 1792, the results of which were, that the number of births was increasing, and the number of deaths diminishing: and when the causes were considered that checked the population of the West Indies, there was reason to believe that, by the regulations which the abolition would produce, nature would there, as in other countries, accomplish her own ends, and that the population would maintain itself. The calculations had been stated often, but in a new parliament to restate the results would be useful. In Jamaica, from 1761 to 68, the excess of the deaths above the births was 25,000; from 68 to 74, 11,000; from 74 to 87,20,000; and in 1804–5, it appeared that the excess of deaths was only 258 in eight parishes in Jamaica. In the first period, the decrease was 2 and a quarter per cent., in the second 1 per cent., in the third 3–5ths per cent., and in the fourth 1 out of 1456. This last decrease was so minute, that the balance was nearly equal; and it must be observed, that in this statement, the deaths among the newly-imported slaves, where by far the greater proportion occurred, were always included. In Dominica the births exceeded the deaths, and also in the Bermudas and Bahamas; but he did not much rest upon them, because the climate and the nature of the labour might be stated as the cause. The importations were considerably diminished in Barbadoes, Montserrat, &c. &c. So much with regard to the West-India islands in their present state. But, according to the principle of population confirmed by experience, the numbers would increase, unless checked by some powerful cause. The slave population in North America, according to Mr. King, if they continued to multiply at the rate they did when he wrote, would double their number in twenty years. In St. Helena, since the importation of slaves was prevented, the slave population increased. The Maroons increased in Jamaica under all their disadvantages; as did the Caribbs in St. Vincent's. In Bencoolen, the most unhealthy place in the world perhaps, the population increased. The cold climate in North America, as well as the labour, consisting in the cultivation of the ground for rice, was peculiarly hostile to the negro constitution, and yet there, as it appeared, they multiplied with rapidity. What, then, were the causes that checked the population in the West Indies? Two principal causes were assigned: the disproportion between the sexes, and the promiscuous intercourse among them. With regard to the former, the planters had full warning; and might have provided against the circumstance. The disproportion, he believed, was greatly magnified. With regard to the latter cause, the remedy lay with the planters themselves, who ought to promote the education and morals of their slaves. But there were other causes that checked the population: bad food, severe treatment, and want of proper accommodation. The effect of the abolition would be to remove these causes, and to promote he morals and comfort of the negroes. He meant no reflection on the planters, who in general were respectable men. The blame lay with their agents abroad. That bad treatment impeded the population, appeared from Mr. Long's history of Jamaica; who, though no friend to the abolition, stated that the population increased in proportion to the good treatment and moderate labour. He denied that the prevention of importation would increase the labour of those that were left, for the slaves had been imported to supply the vacancies by the excess of deaths, and for the purpose of extending the cultivation. To shew that bad treatment and severity diminished the usefulness of the negro, he mentioned the fact that a negro, in cultivating the piece of ground given to himself, did more in half a day than he would do in a whole one under the lash of an unfeeling overseer. The argument was peculiarly striking when applied to the female sex, who were often employed so as to destroy the child before it was born, or so as to prevent its being brought up. A proper care and attention, he was persuaded, would produce a rapid increase.—We, said the noble lord, are told by the enemies to this measure, that the West-India Islands will be put in a state of revolt, if we agree to the abolition; that it will create a spirit of disaffection and rebellion. The preamble to the bill is particularly complained of, because it declares, that the traffic in slaves is contrary to the dictates of justice and humanity. Is it necessary, sir, to tell the negro, who is torn from his native land, his wife, his children, and his friends, that that act of violence, which tears him from all his former endearments in life, is contrary to humanity? This is a principle which is implanted in his breast by the great hand of the Almighty. Yet it is said, it is told them by the preamble o the bill! If he cannot see it upon the wounds inflicted on the back of his fellow sufferer, if he cannot hear it in the cries of his fellow slave, are we to suppose that he will read it in the preamble of a bill? Such an argument is futile and absurd; and what is more, too, I may say, that the planters and West-India merchants themselves do no believe it, or if they do, never was the conduct of men more imprudently regulated. Afrer 20 years, during which this question has been often agitated, is the house to be told, that all the debates which have taken place, all the motions and resolutions which have been made by the house of commons, all the reports that have in consequence gone forth, declaring that their slavery was contrary to humanity, have had no effect in inducing that con- viction, which is so anxiously, at present, wished to be avoided in the preamble of a bill? Has not the Jamaica Gazette, on various occasions, states the very means by which that insurrection might be produced, by which their plans of revolt might be organized, and a stimulus and incitement afforded to the negroes to carry their operations into effect? Look at the state of these islands for the last 20 years, and say, is it not notorious, that there never were so few insurrections, amongst the negroes, as at the very time they knew that such an abolition of this infamous traffic was under discussion? But, it has been argued, that the non-importation of fresh negroes would tend to impose additional labour upon the old ones already in the islands; but this is a consequence which I am far from thinking would follow; for is it not well known, that the newly imported negroes are not calculated, at least for a length of time, to diminish the labours of those who are actually employed in clearing and cultivating the new grounds? What source of consolation could it be to the old negroes to behold fresh importations of their unhappy countrymen, doomed to endure similar slavery with themselves? The only effect this could produce, would be that of sowing the seeds of continual insurrection. But the prohibition to import fresh negroes, could not be fairly adduced as a motive why the old ones should revolt. It was proved by experience and fact, that in those islands, where there was no regular supply of fresh negroes, no insurrection ever took place. With respect to the general security of the islands, the danger does not arise from those negroes who have been long settled in them, and used to their masters, but from those who have been freshly imported, and are smarting under recent wrongs. The case of the island of St. Domingo has been cited by the anti-abolitionists, as an example of caution. I, sir, in my turn, would beg leave to cite the events which took place in that island, as a warning how we encourage successive importations; for, is it not well known, that in that ill-fated island, there had been unusually large importations from Africa, previous to the insurrections and intestine commotions which prevailed? Other causes, indeed; might have co-operated, and have had their effect; the passions of men had been set loose and inflamed, at the commencement of the French revolution, throughout every part of that empire: hence St. Domingo became a prey to intestine commotions, and was divided into different political parties, each of which in their turn endeavoured to avail themselves of the assistance of the blacks; but the fresh and large importations from Africa which were carried on during that period, so far from diminishing, tended greatly to increase the danger. If, indeed, it were proposed by the present measure, that the negroes should at once be emancipated, I acknowledge that there would be just reason to apprehend scenes of terror; but nothing of this sort is in contemplation. It has been stated, that endeavours have already been made to excite the slaves at Jamaica into insurrection, from the example of St. Domingo. I allow it possible, that emissaries from the latter island may have been sent to Jamaica; but as the best means to render abortive such attempts, I would say, attach your negroes of Jamaica to your service by good treatment and a kind system; at any rate, new importations would not diminish, but rather increase the danger of insurrection. Experience confirms the fact. In Surinam, when a Dutch colony, the masters made use of the most rigorous treatment towards their slaves, and there insurrections broke out; whereas, in the islands where the negroes have been treated with kind usage, they have even protected their masters, when threatened with attack. But, on this subject we, who are advocates for the abolition of this traffic, have been branded as theorist and enthusiasts, whilst we have, almost exclusively, fact and experience to allege, in opposition to the objections of the anti-abolitionists.—But, it has been also objected, that this measure will tend to diminish the white population in the islands, and that it will discourage those who go out from this country to the islands as book keepers and overseers, with the hope of procuring plantations and making their fortunes; but the expectation of making large fortunes, cannot be considered as the main inducement for such persons to go from this country to the West Indies, but rather that they may obtain such a competent provision as they were not so likely to meet with at home. But, perhaps, it may be fit matter of enquiry, whether adequate measures have been adopted by the colonists themselves to keep up the while population, and such militia as may be needful to controul the negroes. But, are there no modes of employment, in which the whites may be usefully engaged in the West Indies, as an encouragement for them to settle there? I think, sir, that much may be done to encourage their settlement in these islands, and that a great deal of what is now performed by the blacks, might be performed by means of machinery, as well as that there are a great many articles of useful labour to which the whites are competent. I hope, therefore, that one good effect of the present measure will be to encourage the whites to settle in the West Indies, and to pursue such trades as those of blacksmiths, coopers, &c. and thus to increase the proportion of whites to blacks. There have been repeated emigrations from the Highlands of Scotland to America; but in the upper lands of Jamaica, if I am not misinformed, there are better soils, where such as are driven by necessity from their native country might be usefully employed.—In short, sir, were I called to state my belief of what would be the measure of the greatest security and advantage to the West Indies, I would state this very measure. The negroes in the islands would then become attached to the soil, and to their masters, from kind treatment, and afford the increased means of defence from a foreign enemy.—But, there are one or two general topics more, on this subject, to which I must briefly advert, before I sit down. We have been told, that if this be considered as a measure of justice, we do not follow up our own principles; for, if slavery be in itself unjust, we ought to abolish it altogether. I think it sufficient to say, that the result of this measure will, I trust, lead to the abolition of slavery, encouraged and assisted by such regulations as the wisdom of parliament may afterwards think fit to adopt. I trust, that by this measure slavery will gradually wear out without the immediate intervention of any positive law, in like manner as took place in the states Of Greece and Rome, and some parts of modern Europe, where slaves have been permitted to work out and purchase their own freedom, and that such regulations may be adopted as have been in some of the Spanish and Portuguese colonies. In all the states of America, with the exception of one, the slave trade has actually been abolished; and not only so, but in some of the states, measures of gradual emancipation, by means of education, and the like, have been adopted; and, I be- lieve, that in some private estates, particularly that of general Washington, the slaves have been actually emancipated: and I would ask, whether any instance can be pointed out of insurrections and revolutions, in consequence of such measures? or rather, whether they have not, in such states, been peaceable and orderly? But, on the contrary, nothing is so apt to excite revolt, as where the negroes in our islands witness the superior advantages which their brethren possess in America. But the abolition of slavery must be gradually and not suddenly effected, and this, both on the principles of justice to the planters, as also to the slaves themselves. For, in the present reduced circumstances of the slaves, to propose their immediate emancipation, would be to produce horrors similar to those which have already happened at St. Domingo. But it has been objected, that if we abandon this trade, other nations will take it up. The same objection may be made use of by them: thus, this argument proceeds in a circle, without leading to any satisfactory conclusion. I confess, sir, I am far from being sanguine, that even if peace were to take place tomorrow, any such general and liberal measure would be adopted; but let us at least hope that France, which is contending with us for power, when it sees us take the lead, may be ashamed to confess itself inferior to us in liberality and virtue. At all events, this appears to be the most proper moment for effecting the salutary measure; for the trade of France and Holland are nearly annihilated; Denmark and America have already abolished the traffic in slaves; Portugal alone continues it; and her trade is not 1–6th part of ours; and may we not hope, that Portugal herself, when she sees that other nations have abandoned this trade, will also relinquish it?—I shall now, sir, only notice one other general argument, which has been made use of by the enemies of the abolition; namely, that this trade has been sanctioned by antiquity, as well as by the best of satesmen, particularly by lord Clarendon, and Mr. Locke. I entertain as great a respect as any one for such names; although, as to the former, I do not look upon him as the best authority that could be quoted in favour of freedom; but surely it is attempting to prove too much, that because the slave trade was an abuse which they did not attempt to resist, therefore, we must continue it. The same argument might be made use of against the reformation, because sir Thomas More did not immediately encourage it; and even in favour of torture, because this very sir T. More encouraged the use of it in his own court. With all due deference for authority, it must still be permitted us to judge for ourselves; and when we are convinced that any institution is founded in inhumanity, by whomsoever it may have been sanctioned, we are bound to resist it. It is possible that this trade in its infancy may not have attracted notice, or that those who countenanced it may not have been aware of its dreadful consequences; and Mr. Locke may not, probably, have examined this subject with the same attention or accuracy with which he examined other subjects. But if, after all, we are to rest upon authority, I do not think it entirely rests on one side. I might mention the name of one as much entitled to respect, the president Montesquieu, who condemned this traffic; but, not to quote other names, I cannot but recall to memory those illustrious statesmen, this house and country have so lately lost—men who felt so deeply interested in the welfare of the state, and who bent all the force of their minds on this great question, where all rivalship ceased. The names of Pitt and Fox are not inferior to any other, and we know how anxiously they wished for the abolition of this trade. Let me call upon this house, then, in this first session, to pay that tribute to their memories; and, if we are satisfied on the ground of facts, of experience, of justice, of humanity, and of Christianity, let us rear this monument, more dear and splendid to their memory than any other that can be erected. This measure these great men left as a legacy to this house and to their country: the success of it lay near their hearts, and was one of the last wishes expressed by my illustrious predecessor. Upon this great question, which was nothing less than to give peace and happiness to Africa, all other differences for a moment subsided: "Concidunt venti, fugiuntque nubes." This is a subject which is most worthy of the attention of the house of commons, and I trust it will be successfully carried

General Gascoyne

lamented, that on this subject he had to contend not only against argument but prejudice, and without that evidence, which, if admitted, would have shewn the dangerous tendency of the present measure. He declared himself, upon every view of the subject, and after mature consideration, confirmed in his former opinion. But that opinion had not been fairly represented. The noble lord had said, that there was an individual so charmed with the slave trade, that even if it were abolished, he would move for its re-establishment; but his (gen. Gascoyne's) words were to this effect; that seeing all the consequences which resulted from the slave trade, and the flourishing state of the colonies, and that no other method had been found out for bringing them into that state but the cultivation by slaves, and that under this system our navy and commerce had so flourished, he should, rather than that our colonies should remain uncultivated, wish the slave trade to be continued. Had the noble lord been candid enough to have agreed to the production of evidence, he could not have denied this statement; but having rejected that evidence, which the learned counsel had offered to produce to substantiate their allegations, nothing remained but matters of mere assertion and opinion. This was a question of great importance to the commercial interests of the country in general, and to the town of Liverpool in particular. The noble lord had first adverted to the evidence which had been given in the year 1792, with respect to enormities in this trade then existing; but what proof had he brought forward of any thing similar now? The noble lord had stated what had been the case 20, and in some instances 40 or 50 years ago, and quoted them as present existing evils. He had stated many of those evils which formerly existed in the middle passage, before the restrictions and regulations of late years had been adopted. He had made an appeal to the passions whilst he excluded the evidence of existing facts. There was no one who would say that slavery was better than freedom; at the same time, looking at this subject as a matter of policy, it was requisite to consider, first of all, what immediately related to ourselves, rather than what respected others. The noble lord had even applied the epithets of robbers, murderers, &c., and that not to the traders alone, but also to the colonists. What! did the noble mean to represent them as so cruel that no justice was to be expected from them? Surely this was a gross and an ill-founded charge! But this he would maintain, that never had a proceeding of such magnitude been brought into that house, wherein there had been such a want of justice and candour as to refuse the production of evidence. The noble lord had demanded, who were the persons that would appear, but such as were interested? Undoubtedly, those persons would have appeared, who felt themselves injured by this measure. It had been proposed to adduce, also, the evidence of two most respectable persons, one a member of the upper house, and the other a member of this, who had been governors of colonies, but they also were refused. It had been insinuated, that the evidence proposed was the offspring of self-interest and party opinion; and, after all this, to talk of candour and justice, what was it but a mere mockery of the name? The noble lord had made various calculations, and drawn inferences from them, but the papers he had read his calculations from, were not before the house; he had never seen them, and therefore he could only consider all the arguments deduced from those papers to be mere gratuitous assertions, and in some instances he knew them not to be founded in fact; and he would have proved this to have been the case, had the opportunity of calling in evidence not been refused. He much questioned whether the noble lord had received any information upon the subject. It appeared to him that he had mistaken the arguments of one counsel for another, and that his lordship had so blended the two subjects, as not to have drawn proper conclusions from them. This was a subject of magnitude in a commercial point of view; for it was no small matter of capital which employed two millions, with 40,000 tons of shipping, and 4,000 seamen; but all this had been treated as if unworthy of notice. The noble lord had argued as if the African trade was injurious to the navy; but it was unfair to infer the loss of seamen in the African trade, in as much as many of them were afterwards pressed in the West Indies; so that there was no more argument to prove the loss of men on board these ships, from this circumstance occurring, than of seamen, in ships from the East Indies or elsewhere, coming home in time of war. Had evidence been gone into, he should have proved that the seamen, on board these ships, coming from Africa to the West Indies, were not in such a state as had been represented by the noble lord; and that so far from that mortality taking place, there had been no more mortality on board these ships than on board men of war; and that a greater mortality was experienced in carry- ing troops in transports from hence to the West Indies, than happened in the ships going from thence to Africa and the West Indies. But from the manner in which this question had been treated, he confessed he had no expectation that justice would he done by the production of documents. One of the papers the noble lord produced, had formerly been laid on the table of the house, and consisted of the opinions of certain governors in the West Indies; and yet he now objected to the vivâ voce evidence of two most respectable men, the successors of these very governors, and who would have stated differently. So much for the feeling and candour of the noble lord and his friends! The noble lord had then proceeded to state the disproportion between the males and females in the West Indies, and, without informing the house whence be drew his conclusions, asserted a variation very different from the counsel at the bar, who would have proved by evidence the disproportion to have been betwixt four or five to one. From particular instances, the noble lord had drawn general conclusions; he had also thrown the greatest defamation and slander on the West-India planters with respect to their treatment of the female slaves, in cases of pregnancy, and after child-birth. But can it be supposed that the planters should be so adverse, not only to the dictates of humanity, but to their own interest? for every female that had a child, thereby became more valuable to the owner. He declared that if he had not heard such language spoken in that house, and had it been reported to him out of doors, he could not have believed it. But if, after all, the present bill should pass, and if any insurrection should take place in the islands, (as he really dreaded,) he declared, that he should have a right to conclude, that it was because this act had passed, more especially as the noble lord had acknowledged that for 20 years past no such insurrection had occurred. In his opinion, had a French general landed in any of the islands, with an address to the blacks to excite them to insurrection, no such attempt would have proved more successful than the preamble to the present bill. The noble lord thought, that some sort of machinery might be substituted in place of the labour of the slaves; but was it not most extraordinary that the planters themselves, who were so materially interested, should not have conceived such a thing practicable? The noble lord said, with one breath, that this was the proper time, and yet, with another, he fairly acknowledged that no hopes could be indulged of the concurrence of France. But, for his own part, he could not but consider it as a most improper time for bringing forward such a proposition, for, without obtaining the co-operation of other states, the promoters of this measure would defeat their own object; and, surely, if the slave trade was allowed to exist at all, according to the late regulations, it appeared to be carried on with more lenity by this than by any other government. It sufficiently appeared, that Bonaparte would never become a party to such a bill as the present; his object when applied to was obviously to evade, and now that the fanatic ideas of humanity and policy were broached, would he be ready to take it up? With regard to the Portuguese, he understood that they had actually written to Liverpool to engage captains and ships for this trade, merely in consequence of the resolutions of the last parliament. But, supposing the trade to be abolished, it would even then be impossible for all the frigates of the British navy, without the concurrence and co-operation of the colonists themselves, to prevent the importation of slaves; it was the interest both of the traders and colonists to have slaves introduced. As to America, their prohibition merely extended to the introduction of slaves into America; but if permitted to trade at all, they would immediately adapt their trade to the introduction of slaves into our colonies. The noble lord had given no estimate of the loss which the colonists would sustain by the abolition of this trade, which amounted to a property of 90 millions sterling, and the imports into the West Indies to between 4 and 5 millions,—a momentous part of the subject, but which the noble lord had kept totally out of view! With regard to the emancipation of the slaves, he had only to say, that the opinion of those who had the best local information on the subject, was, that such a measure would produce the downfall of the empire. With regard to the gradual abolition of the trade, he should not have objected to it under proper restrictions and regulations; but should the present bill pass into a law, his belief was that before 12 months were at an end, conspiracies and insurrections would take place; and with regard to emancipation, that might take place in a way that was tittle wished for

Mr. Roscoe

was desirous of saying a few words on the present bill, both to satisfy his own feelings, and to fulfil the duty he owed to his constituents. Whatever might have been supposed, the inhabitants of the town of Liverpool were by no means unanimous in resisting the abolition of the slave trade. The noble lord had so ably discussed the general principles of the measure, that he had very little in addition to offer: one obvious effect he would notice, namely, that where the comforts of life were easily acquired, nature would fulfil her own designs, and the multiplication of the species would be secured. From excess of misery, disappointing these her benevolent intentions, the slave trade at first was resorted to; and when it became the interest of the planters to promote the happiness of this laborious class, the obstruction to the increase would be removed and the population would answer all the beneficial purposes conducive to the prosperity of these settlements. It would banish that horrid maxim so familiar on the islands, that it is better to buy than to breed slaves; and the principles of humanity would be so fortunately blended with the notions of commercial policy, that the felicity of that unfortunate class of beings would be finally consulted. So far was he from thinking that the islands would be sacrificed by this measure, that he was sanguine enough to believe it would be their salvation. He remembered that the Restriction bill was as much opposed as the present measure of total abolition; and yet the house had heard from counsel at the bar the other night, that those restrictions had been productive of essential benefits. He could not help strongly condemning that branch of this disgraceful traffic; which supplied the Africans on the coasts with the means of vice and debauchery, in furnishing them with brandy and fire-arms in exchange for their slaves. He had been doubtful it the gradual abolition of the trade would not be preferable to any sudden interruption to it; not, indeed, for the sake of those whose fortunes, whether as merchants or planters, were involved in it, but for the sake of the immediate objects of it. He was fearful, that when these were brought to the coasts, and no market was found, they might be massacred on the shores of their country. Feeling this apprehension, he enquired what would be the time necessary to ap-prize the native slave merchants and prevent this calamity, and he was told that a notice of six or nine months was competent for this purpose. The time, therefore, mentioned in the bill would be sufficient in Africa; and in the West Indies, they had been already aware of the proceedings in that house, and had been, from regard to their own interests, preparing for the event. He did not think he should discharge his duty to his constituents, if he did not urge the claim the West-India merchants had on the public for compensation. But he hoped that the merchants of Great Britain would find in a more extended commerce, a more lasting compensation than a pecuniary one could bestow. It was natural, under the pressure of our present heavy expenditure, to look to the East and to the West for resources to support us through our present arduous struggle. We ought to oppose a great colonial to a great continental power. He thought that our East-India possessions were inseparable from the interests of Great Britain, as a free and independent nation, but there ought to be no exclusive trade in the East-India company. The trade of India ought to be thrown open to the whole body of British merchants. He saw no reason why the harbours of India should be open to the whole world, and shut against British merchants. He hoped the same enlightened policy, which had so eminently distinguished the measures of the present administration, would dictate some measure which would do away this monopoly, and thus compensate for any loss which the slave trade might occasion to the merchants of Great Britain. I have, said the hon. gent., long resided in the town of Liverpool; for 30 years I have never ceased to condemn this inhuman traffic; and I consider it the greatest happiness of my existence to lift up my voice on this occasion against it, with the friends of justice and humanity

Mr. Lushington

was greatly surprised to hear the opponents of this hill enter into cold calculations of loss and gain; for his part, he could never stop to balance imports and exports against justice and humanity. Statements had been made by the noble lord, which put it beyond doubt that oppression and cruelty had been practised towards the negroes in the West Indies. He did not want to have all the facts proved at the bar of the house, for if one half or a third of them were true, enough was established to induce the British legislature to interfere in behalf of those wretched creatures, who had been made the instruments of gratifying avarice and the basest passions. Here the hon. gent. entered into a statement with a view of shewing that the disproportion between the numbers of the males and females in the colonies was not as great as had been stated by the counsel for the petitioners. On the whole, though he believed that the slaves were better treated now than they had been heretofore, yet he thought that this was no reason against the abolition of the trade with Africa, which he considered to be the parent and fertile source of all the evils and calamities which the blacks suffered from their masters. He never, therefore, gave a vote with greater cordiality than he should in favour of the present measure, which reflected the highest credit on ministers, and would, he had no doubt, confer benefit and security on the West Indies

Mr. Fawkes rose

and spoke to the following effects;—Mr. Speaker; the abolition of the slave trade has been, for the last 20 years, so repeatedly submitted to the consideration of this house, and to the discussion of the great and pre-eminent talents which have characterized and adorned the parliamentary history of this country, for that period; that, in addressing the house on this night, I feel my insufficiency to add any argument, either more new, or more cogent, than those which have on so many former occasions been introduced. But, sir, I rise to perform a solemn but voluntary pledge made to my constituents, that I would mark, with my express reprobation, a traffic, the most unjust and execrable; a trade, which has, during the whole course of my existence, excited the strongest abhorrence in my mind, and to resist the continuance of which is this night a proud and satisfactory feeling, enhanced by the grateful recollection, that I have been enabled to join with my hon. and respected colleague (Mr. Wilberforce) in the accomplishment of that object, which was the steady, unerring, and virtuous aim, of his private exertions and his public duties. The noble lord who, with his wonted eloquence, and unanswerable reasoning, moved this subject, has, I trust, fully convinced this house, that the measure which he supports and recommends, is founded on the true principles of a sound and liberal policy. It is unnecessary for me to follow that noble lord through the clear and precise statements which he made, or to advert to those calculations and inferences, which were so ably and fairly de- duced. There ere still powerful reasons which imperiously sway me to support the abolition of this trade in slaves, and which justify every opposition to the continuance of a system bottomed on injustice and inhumanity. Amongst those which I Shall take the liberty of stating to the house, the claims of plundered, persecuted Africa, shall not be forgotten. Nor shall I satisfy myself with viewing the question as to the mere circumstance of dragging these unhappy beings from home and country, and from relatives and friends, for transportation in a foreign land; but shall extend my enquiry to the means and expedients by which they are obtained. The condition of savage life, sir, is sufficiently deplorable, without employing human ingenuity to aggravate its incidental calamities. Man, instructed and enlightened man, should at least endeavour to avoid increasing the miseries of the untutored, and not pervert the superiority of reason, by augmenting evils, which it is his duty to diminish. It has been said, that though you abolish this measure, the wars in Africa will still continue to be waged. It is unhappily the lot of civilized, as well as uncivilized life, that human contentions will prevail, and that the conflicting passions of nations, as well as of individuals, will be exasperated into mutual rancour and reciprocal hostility. Is it therefore because such is the unhappy condition of our natures, that means are to be used, and expedients resorted to, for the diabolical purpose of fomenting them? Is it because it is impossible to subdue the lust of aggrandizement, or to circumscribe the unprincipled progress of rapine and aggression, that an unjust and inhuman pursuit must be continued? and that the laws of civilized states, the laws of this our common country, shall encourage or countenance the inhuman slave-dealer, whilst he hangs on the rear of the army, which he has stimulated to carnage and slaughter, for the purpose of purchasing the flesh and blood of his fellow-creature, to satisfy the cravings of a sordid and criminal avarice? Often has the poverty of the suffering African been the sole cause of his persecution, and often has his person been consigned to irremediable slavery, as an equivalent for the portion of brandy with which he has been drugged, to rob the mind of its reason, and the body of its liberty. Human nature is unfortunately prone to propensities, which frequently require the restrictions of legislative wisdom, and the checks of salutary controul. Crimes, which, if committed at home, under the cognizance of those laws which restrict the criminal passions, would have excited the strongest sentiments of abhorrence, may be committed in Africa, without revolting the feelings of the scrupulous, at the same time that they stifle the conscientious remonstrances of the agents. I shall not disgust the house by a recital of those atrocities on the innocent and unoffending. We have heard enough of floating, dungeons, and the merciless treatment to which these unhappy children of Africa are subjected, in consequence of that cruel necessity which tears them from all the revered connections of life, from the social endearments of father, husband, and wife; and which, not satisfied with this extreme of injustice and persecution, consigns them to a foreign shore, after a beastly exposure, to the disposal of the highest bidder, to be appreciated by him, not as his fellow being, endued with mind and feeling, but as an inanimate effect, on the profits of which he may voluntarily speculate. Will the house of commons tolerate a traffic always commencing in injustice, and frequently terminating in murder? Will it lend its countenance to a system communicating misery to the whole continent of Africa, and entailing indelible dishonour on the character of Great Britain? No; the time has at length arrived, when the arm of the slave-dealer must be arrested; and when men who are anxious to grow rich, must first learn to be humane. To assert that such are not the dreadful effects of this trade, is to assume, that the documents on your table are palpable fabrications. But it has been said, that the situation of the African slave in the West-India colonies, is preferable to that of the British peasant. First, let me be convinced, that the slave in the colonies enjoys the benefit of that unequalled blessing, the trial by jury; that he possesses the option of exchanging the niggardly and parsimonious employer, for the open and generous master; and that he is animated with the proud feeling of country which pervades every British bosom, from the lowest to the highest class of our community. Alas! with all these blessings, the wretched African slave is perfectly unacquainted. To the proud and ennobling sensations of patriotism, his oppressed heart is wholly a stranger. Africa and anguish must be the constant feeling which torments and overloads his grief-burthened soul. Was there a possibility of making the experiment; or was the proposal made to permit the African labourers, in your colonies, to embark for this country, the whole tonnage of England could not convey the crowds of anxious expectants, which would be assembled on the shores of your different West-India islands. And when they arrived in this country, how would their astonishment be excited, in observing the same people, who, in the colonies had devoted them to slavery and wretchedness, disencumbering them of their shackles, entitling them to the benefits of equal laws, and elevating them to the broad distinction of being free men in the freest country upon the earth! Among the many attempts to justify this iniquitous traffic, and amongst the variety of authorities cited to prove its propriety, the Holy Scriptures have by some been quoted. That the Divine Author of the Christian faith, who engaged in his worldly mission for the exclusive purpose of saving sinners, and who, authorised by his precepts, as He sanctioned by his example, the sublime and benevolent maxim of charity to all men, that his exalted dispensations should be perverted into a justification of a monstrous, unjust, and inhuman policy, is a principle at which religion shudders, and morality revolts! It is a principle, hostile to our present views and future expectations; it disrobes the Gospel of its purity, and plunders mankind of their hopes. But we are also told that slavery has been co-existent with the formation of the world; that it has continued through all the progressions of succeeding ages: so, I answer, have other vices; and will it be admitted, that in the seventh year of the nineteenth century, an enlightened legislature is called upon to support a system of injustice end persecution, upon flimsy pretexts, arising out of the ignorance, the arrogance, or the criminal passions of former ages? Rather let us, with the sentimental writer of our country, exclaim, "Disguise thyself as thou wilt, slavery, still thou art a bitter draught; and though thousands in all ages have been made to drink of thee, thou art no less bitter on that account." Would it not, I ask, be more consonant with the wisdom of our Creator, to suppose, that in the gradual march and progress of human knowledge, the hour had arrived when the fetters of the oppressed and uncivilized African were to disappear before the light of reason and religion; when the children of that persecuted continent were to be admitted to a participation of that bread of life, which was never communicated to individuals or nations, without imparting the benefits of improvement, and the blessings of general happiness?—One task yet remains for me to perform: a task from which I only shrink, convinced of the inefficiency of my talents to do justice to the deserving object of my panegyric. In anticipating the result of this night's debate, I naturally look with reverence and respect to that exalted and benevolent individual (Mr. Wilberforce), who has made this signal act of mercy and justice the leading feature of his public life. I look with feelings of pride to the result of those labours to which my honourable and esteemed colleague has so undeviatingly devoted himself. His actions stand not in need of individual eulogium; he has raised a monument to his fame, founded on the basis of universal benevolence: Quod non imber edax, non Aquilo impotens Possit diruere, aut innumerabilis Annorum series, et fuga temporum. I rejoice with him on the final and glorious victory which he is about to obtain. I rejoice in my country, and in this house, for the great act of humanity they appear willing to complete. The age in which we live, teems with wonders; and in the events which are daily witnessed by Europe, the great struggle for its liberties may take place on English ground. Let us not go forth with the wrongs of Africa as a weight upon our hearts; but rather let us rid our country of the sin, and in the passing of this act of legislative wisdom and justice, make some atonement for the too-long injured and insulted rights of humanity

Lord Mahon rose,

and, in a maiden speech, addressed the house as follows:—In rising, sir, to address you on the present occasion, I do not intend to trespass long upon the indulgence of the house, for I have not the presumption to suppose that I can add any thing to what has been so ably and so eloquently stated by the noble lord who opened the debate. I am impelled, however, by a sense of duty, to deliver my opinions on the subject which is at present under consideration, and which is undoubtedly one of the most interesting and important that was ever debated within these walls. I am aware that though this subject has been often discussed, though it has received upon many former occa- sions, the fairest and fullest investigation, yet that a difference of opinion unfortunately prevails respecting it. I deeply lament, sir, that this should be the case, but in whatever light the subject may be viewed, and whatever variety of sentiment may prevail upon different poins, I should wish to believe that with respect to the principle of the slave trade there could exist but one sentiment in this house and in the country. It is important to distinguish the principle of the slave trade from those additional circumstances which have served to aggravate the evil, but which might perhaps be alleviated by wise and salutary regulations. I allude, as is obvious to every gentleman who hears me, to the miseries of the middle passage, and to the cruelties and enormities which are proved to have been practised in the West Indies. These facts cannot, I think, be disputed; they have been proved and cir-cumstantiated by the clearest evidence, and if you admit the facts, you must also admit the atrocity of the slave trade. But, sir, it is immaterial to the present question whether those facts be or be not admitted, whether even those cruelties and enormities did or did not exist; the mere possibility of their existence, the circumstance that so many innocent paid unhappy men groan under a government which is one of the most arbitrary and oppressive that the world ever witnessed, this alone is sufficient to stamp with infamy so iniquitous a system. To excite our indignation and abhorrence, it is only necessary to know, that man is bought and sold by man. I complain, sir, of the principle of the slave trade, of the principle which is intimately and inseparably united with it, of the fundamental principle upon which it rests, and by which alone it is supported. The principle is, that British subjects are allowed to tear by violence from their home their fellow creatures; to take them from their family, and from their friends, and from all the endearments of social, though not of civilized life; to convert them from freemen into slaves, and to subject them for the remainder of their lives to the arbitrary will and wanton caprice of others. This, sir, is the principle of which I complain, and which, I contend, is inconsistent and incompatible with every notion of humanity and justice. If we consider this subject according to that great rule of Christianity, of doing to others as we would they should do unto us, we should suppose that we ourselves were in that situation in which we have placed the unhappy nations of Africa. I need not ask, sir, what would be the feelings which would in such a case pervade not only every member of this house, but every individual in this country. Then let us act upon the principles of equal and reciprocal justice, and let us not oppress and injure a nation, which is helpless and unprotected, but which is at the same time innocent and unoffending. Much more, sir, might be said upon this part of the subject, it is indeed a copious theme; but I will not repeat what has been so often said by an hon. relation (Mr. Wilberforce), who was the original mover of this great question, and whose name will descend to the latest posterity, with never-fading honour, for his zealous and indefatigable exertions in the cause of suffering humanity. He has treated this subject in language much more eloquent, with arguments much more forcible, than any which I could use, and I am sensible that no words of mine could do justice either to the cause itself, or to my own feelings, upon the subject.—With respect, sir, to the policy of the slave trade, I shall say only a very few words, because I do not imagine that a shadow of doubt can remain upon the mind of any one after the conclusive reasonings which we have heard. I cannot coincide in opinion with those who represent the slave trade as politic and expedient. I believe it will be found upon this as upon every other subject, that nothing is really politic, that nothing is really expedient, or conducive to the interests of this or of any other country, that is not conformable to the principles of humanity and justice. Whenever this subject has been agitated in the house, a number of petitions have been presented, complaining of the evil consequences which it is apprehended would result from the abolition of the slave trade. These petitions are founded, however, on the assumption of a proposition, which is wholly inadmissible. It is maintained, that if no slaves are imported into our West-India islands, those colonies could not be cultivated. This is a proposition not only false and unfounded, but which has been repeatedly confuted by those who are better qualified than myself to discuss it. I believe the contrary to be case; I believe that if the importation of slaves were to be stopped to-morrow, those colonies would flourish, and would prosper, and, I am sure that their popula- lation would considerably increase. Now, upon this proposition so false in itself, they found a long train of consequences; like the ancient philosopher, who exclaimed, Give me but a place to stand on, and I will lift the earth. In the same manner your petitioners have said, Let us have but the benefit of one false assumption, and with that we will prove the ruin and destruction of your West-India trade. These petitions contain certainly many allegations well calculated to alarm the house, but they do not deserve to be considered, unless the proposition upon which they are founded, could first he established. If we look at the present state of St. Domingo, if we reflect upon the situation in which it now is, and in which it will probably continue, we shall then see whether just, humane, and beneficent measures are not necessary to prevent the contagion of that example from extending to our own colonies. This appears to me, sir, to be a weighty and important consideration; but if it even did not exist, I feel so strong an abhorrence of this inhuman and barbarous traffic, that I would not hesitate one moment in voting for its immediate and entire abolition. I would appeal to those sentiments of justice, of humanity, of benevolence, which are, I am sure, inherent in the breasts of all those whom I have now the honour of addressing. I would call upon them in the name of suffering humanity, in the name of an oppressed and injured nation, in the name of those wrongs which have been suffered, of those rights which have been violated, I would call upon them to stop this odious and execrable traffic. It is a traffic, sir, which has been forcibly but truly described as a traffic in human blood and tears, in misery and suffering. I would call upon the house to act in conformity to the resolutions passed in the last session of the late parliament, and which form the foundation of the measure which is now proposed. And here I beg leave to remind the house of the opinions which were entertained upon this subject by that illustrious stateman whose loss we all deplore; to whom I was connected by every tie of blood, of private friendship, and of personal obligation; and whose memory I shall ever cherish with sentiments of love and gratitude. This great man, of whom it is impossible to speak or to think but with respect, employed, upon many occasions, his splendid eloquence and transcendant talents, in urging the adoption of that measure which is now proposed. I trust upon all these grounds, that the house is now arrived after full, mature, and deliberate discussion, at the completion of this great work, the most honourable and glorious that was ever consummated. We are now called upon to decide whether we will sanction the continuance of a system which would disgrace times and countries the most barbarous and uncivilized; whether we will suffer this stain to tarnish the lustre of our national character; whether, when we complain so often and so loudly of the injustice, violence, and oppression of our enemies, we will suffer still greater instances of injustice, violence, and oppression, to exist in any part of the British dominions? I earnestly hope that the house will not separate this night, that the members of it will not retire home without the heart-felt satisfaction of discharging a sacred and solemn duty which they owe to themselves, to their country, and to their God. There is, sir, only one consideration more which I wish to mention before I conclude. Engaged as we unfortunately are in a war of unparalleled danger and indefinite duration, contending with an enemy the most powerful that ever existed, standing alone, as we do, amidst the wreck and ruin of surrounding nations, it behoves us not only to think, but to act conformably to that part of the king's declaration, in which it is said, that his majesty relies with confidence on the protection and support of Divine Providence. Sir, I ask with what right we can venture to expect the protection and support of the Almighty, if we continue in so flagrant a manner to violate his laws, if we continue a system founded in injustice, and which is necessarily productive of violence and oppression? Let us wash our hands clean of this foul pollution, let us act upon the principles of equal and impartial justice, and we may then look, with pious but firm confidence, to the protection and support of that Supreme Disposer of events, in whose hands victory is placed; who disposes of the fate of empires, and who can in an instant crush and annihilate that tremendous and gigantic power, which for reasons known only to Himself, He has thought fit to raise up for the terror and punishment of Europe. It is only by these means, it is only by acting upon these principles, that we can hope for success, and that we can be enabled to look without dismay to the issue of this awful and mighty contest. I have only, sir, to apologise for having trespassed so long and so unworthily on the patience of the house, which I feel was unnecessary, after the long speech fraught with eloquence and wisdom, which was delivered by the noble lord (Howick), who sits on the bench below me, and I shall therefore conclude with declaring my zealous and cordial concur–rence in the motion which he has made

Lord Milton,

though he felt extreme dif–fidence in offering himself to the house, could not suffer a subject of such interest and magnitude to pass, without offering his sentiments upon it. The arguments offered on the other side, so far from weak–ening, had tended to strengthen and confirm the opinion he had always entertained, that the slave trade was contrary not only to justice and humanity, but also to sound policy. That the slave population did not keep up its numbers in the course of na–ture, was to him a sufficient proof of bad treatment; and when the abolition of the trade should have created an interest to give them better treatment, he was certain the species would multiply. As long as the trade was continued, Britain would be giving a premium to rapine and murder, and preventing the progress of civilization on the coast of Africa. "Fiat justitia; ruat cœlum." Though the merchants of Liver–pool might suffer some loss, let this foul stain be washed from the character of the nation. He had often heard the sentiments of that lamented statesman, whom he was proud to call his friend, (Mr. Fox) on this subject, and he was happy in giving his aid to the completion of the valu–able bequest which that distinguished man had left to his friends and country in this great measure

Mr. Bathurst

said, that though he co–incided with the different members who had spoken as to the principle of the trade, he was not prepared to go so far as the policy of immediately abolishing it. He thought the present population not equal to the cultivation of the colonies, and that if the importation of negroes from Africa was immediately stopped, either the planters would suffer considerably in their proper–ties, or illegal means would be resorted to, to obtain a supply. He recommended a tax on the importation of fresh negroes, as a measure which would ultimately lead to a total abolition. Sufficient notification had not been given, in his opinion, to the parties interested; this being the only time during the discussion of the question, that the two houses of parliament were likely to agree in this measure. The hon. gent. entered into a calculation of the number of births and burials, and concluded with some observations on the causes which operated against the increase of negro population

Sir John Doyle.—

Mr. Speaker; I am aware how hopeless the wish, even if I possessed the power of engaging the attention of the house, upon a subject al–ready so exhausted; and, therefore, if I cannot hope to be new, I shall at least endeavour to be short; but I feel also, that in addressing a British audience in the cause of justice and humanity, an apology would be little than an offence. The able statement of the noble lord (Howick), and the eloquent speech of the hon. mem–ber for Yorkshire, have, by anticipating much of what I had to offer, considerably increased my difficulties in addressing the house, for I feel that it would be as inju–dicious with regard to myself, as injurious to the cause I have at heart, were I, by repetition, to weaken what has been so strongly and so irresistibly established. I shall, therefore, confine myself to observing upon what has been urged by the counsel at your bar, and what has fallen in the course of this night's debate. The learned counsel (Mr. Dallas), in his ingenious speech, laid much stress upon the policy of continuing this trade. Now, sir, I positively deny that any policy can be sound, that is grafted upon injustice and oppression; but least of all can British policy rest upon such foul and hollow grounds. But, if I had any doubts on the score of policy, they would have been removed when I re–flect, that the two greatest men this or any other country ever produced, differing upon almost all other points, agreed, not upon the humanity and justice merely, but upon the sound policy of the measure, as con–nected with the general interest of the empire and its colonies; thus clubbing, if I may say so, their great talents in favour of the present measure. But, sir, an addi–tional proof of its policy is deducible from the undivided sentiments of his majesty's present ministers; not, indeed, from their power, for that would never induce me to give an opinion contrary to my feelings, or to what I conceive to be the true interest of my country, but because the great responsibility rests with them, of giving a due direction to the policy of the country; and, beside, they are free from the influence of personal interest or of local prejudice, whereas, many of those who oppose the measure have an interest in the event, or are pleading for friends who have; and though I impute none but the purest mo–tives to those gentlemen, yet it is in the nature of man, that a bias will impercep–tibly and involuntarily insinuate itself into the opinions of men, whose personal ad–vantage is mixed with public measures; whereas personal interest, if it could have any weight with ministers, must operate in a contrary direction, for we all know that the anti-abolitionists have a strong force in parliament, whereas there is not a single vote to be got on the whole continent of Africa. He also called for your justice and humanity, but, strange to tell, he ap–plied those terms, not to the oppressed, but to the proud oppressor—not to him who suffered, but to him who did the wrong.—The next argument of the learned counsel was, that our ancestors having permitted the Slave Trade for 250 years, we should continue it. Now, sir, with every respect for our ancestors, I never can admit this doctrine; first, because I do not believe the last age more enlightened than the present, for we have their experience added to our own, and that in periods more eventful than they lived in; and next, because if once admitted, the same compliment must be paid to their ancestors, and so back ad infinitum, until it terminated in a paradox, that the darkest ages were the most en–lightened—and as to the length of time, it they have had the benefit of this iniqui–tous trade for 250 years, they may be to–lerably well satisfied to part with it now. But it is said, that the petitioners are taken by surprise, and they pray that the aboli–tion may be gradual. Why, they must have been asleep for the last 20 years: if they have laid out money within that period, they must be wretched speculators, or they would have seen that the question must force itself upon the legislature—"Magna est veritas et prævalebit." The learned counsel, as also the member for Liverpool, have stated that a number of ships have been built for the Slave Trade which would not answer for any other, and that docks have been built for those ships which would be useless if the bill took place, and that if Liverpool gave up the slave trade, other countries would take it up. This argument would justify robbery of any kind; and let us see to what an ex- tent it might be pushed. Suppose a high–wayman should urge as an excuse, that it is true he did rob the man, but it was be–cause he knew that if he did not, Will Bagshot's gang would, and that moreover it turned out a profitable job; and suppose, that when pressed to relinquish so disgraceful an occupation, he should answer, "but I have gone to great expence in purchasing horses, which would be fit for nothing else but the highway. I have built stables, but they will suit none but highwaymen's horses, and I have purchased pistols and blunderbusses at a great expence, which would be useless in any other calling." I mention this, merely to shew how far the argument might be carried, and not as a comparison; for though no man has been more un–handsomely treated by highwaymen than myself, yet I would not degrade their pro–fession by comparing it with the slave trade. The robber may be compelled by hunger; besides, he risks his life in the attempt, and he has not the presumption to say, that he benefits those he robs; more–over, he does not ask compensation for giving up the trade.—St. Domingo, has been mentioned, and spies are said to have been sent from thence to excite revolt in Jamaica. I admit that St. Domingo, in its present state, is not a good neighbour, but emissaries would be sent if this question were never agitated, and the effects of the abolition would be to counteract any such attempts, as it would tend to make the si–tuation of the negroes more comfortable, and therefore they would be less likely to revolt, and especially as the newly-imported African was much more dangerous than the man born in the island; and it must be remembered that Dessalines himself was an imported African. If spies were sent by the black government, it must proceed from sympathy, and if sent by the French, it would have been done to injure the British interests, equally, had the abolition never been mentioned. It is said it is a benefit to the African to be carried to the West Indies. What! to be torn from the bosom of his family at the midnight hour, and in the unsuspecting security of sleep, and be transported in chains to eternal slavery, and this is the gracious boon of the slave captains to the wretched inhabitants of that ill-fated country! I admire their ideas of humanity. O amiable philanthro–pists! O benevolent crusaders! thus to become voluntary missionaries in this peri- lous pilgrimage, purely to impart happiness to the sable sons of sorrow! But how is this kindness returned?—by ingratitude, worse than the sin of witchcraft. The African is so stupid and so sulky, that he neither perceives nor acknowledges the blessings thus conferred upon him. But how presumptuous is man to square the happiness of other beings by any ideal standard of his own! To what absurdity, as well as cruelty, would this lead! I re–member seeing a poacher in a warren sewing up the mouth of his ferret to prevent it in–juring the fur of the rabbits, and upon my remonstrating against the cruelty, he posi–tively asserted that the animal liked the operation. Great stress has been laid upon the opinions of governors, and par–ticularly those of the two gentlemen last in the government of Jamaica. Sir, I have long known the character of those excellent officers to be in the highest degree re–spectable. But the situation of governor does in a great degree prevent the possi–bility of obtaining accurate information. Every thing he hears must be through an interested medium. On his visits be would see nothing but cheerfulness. Every face whether white or black, would be dressed in holiday smiles—he would never hear the secrets of the prison house. Besides, the domestic slaves and the artizans, being under the immediate eye of the master, are free from the tyranny of the driver. If governors in general are liable to be de–ceived by appearances, those who have been in that situation pending this question cannot be less so; the higher you go in rank for information, the lower you de–scend in the scale of evidence; what you might gain in weight of authority, you would lose in weight of testimony. Here the hon. general stated several striking facts illustrative of the cruelty exercised upon slaves, which had fallen under his own observation, during the former war in the British Province of South Carolina. These instances I adduce, (said he) as bearing upon the general question of the slave trade; but which I disclaim as having any reference to the West-India traders, and planters, for whom I unfeignedly pro–fess a high respect; for many of them, in–dividually, sincere personal regard; and particularly my hon. friend on the opposite side (Mr. Barham), who has manifested the disinterestedness of his manly mind, by voting for the abolition of the slave trade, though evidently injurious to his personal interest. But the oppression I have wit–nessed, tends to shew the dangers of trusting man with unlimited power over his fellow man, particularly where the base and low are "clothed with a little brief authority." The impression has ever since rested upon my mind; for, "taught by that Power that pities me, I learned to pity them." But a new and monstrous doctrine has lately sprung up, that the slave trade is justified by Scripture: what shall we say to the presumption, that calls down the divine attributes of Justice and Mercy, in aid of this unhallowed traffic? will any one pre–sume to say, that the black man is not called into existence, by the same fiat of Omnipotence, that has summoned the white man from the dust, to bear the image of his Maker? Are we net taught "to do unto others as we would they should do unto us?" are we not commanded to "love our neigh–bours as ourselves?" This benevolent doc–trine dues not apply solely to the man who lives next door; but to all our fellow so–journers in this transitory world. There is no restriction as to colour. We are not told to love the white and hate the black neighbour: strange, that the subtle fluid, which, circulating under the membrane of the skin, gives to divers nations their various hues, should be the boundary between liberty and slavery—between hove and ha–tred! but above all, can we forget the great commandments, "thou shalt not steal, thou shalt do no murder?" And, though I do not impute those crimes immediately to the British trader; yet if by exciting the cupidity of the native princes we should encourage war and rapine, for the purpose of obtaining slaves, we should not, I fear, be held guiltless in the sight of Heaven, of the sin attendant upon those crimes. Be–fore I sit down, let me congratulate the hon. member (Mr. Wilberforce) upon the effects produced by his unwearied industry, his indefatigable zeal, and his impressive eloquence, in thus bringing to a happy con–clusion, a measure, which does so much ho–nour to his head and heart, and which washes out this foul stain from the pure ermine of the national character

The Solicitor-General

said, he was sorry the right hon. gent. who spoke last but one, had displayed the principles that had fallen from him; for, in the present state of the sentiments of the house, it was not those who claimed humanity and justice, not for the negroes, but their oppressors, that the advocates of the abolition had to fear, but those who, while they agreed in the pro–priety of the abolition, were for deferring the execution of it. The immediate abo–lition was the only remedy for the evils. Mr. Parke had proved that the negroes who were not sold, far from being massacred, were kept in a milder sort of slavery in Africa. There was no evidence of any such massacre having ever taken place. He argued to the fact, that no such massacre ever took place from the frequent varia–tions in the amount of the demand for ne–groes, and consequently the supply to an–swer that demand. When the demand was suddenly increased, as it was on the settle–ment of Trinidad, whole families must have been dragged forth to answer the de–mand. He cited several cases of horrid cruelty, in which the law was inadequate to do justice to the Blacks, and with re–spect to which the Whites acknowledged no community of law, nor of justice, nor of spe–cies. He concluded with an eloquent representation of the gratitude the vote of this night would call forth from posterity, and of the happiness which many of the younger members, who were present, would have in beholding what they had anticipated with all the generous ardour of youth, ex–pressed by some of them in a corresponding glow of language upon the benign effects of this measure upon the negroes, the whole property of the colonies, and upon the pro–sperity of the empire at large. When he looked to the man at the head of the French monarchy, surrounded as he was with all the pomp of power, and all the pride of victory, distributing kingdoms to his family, and principalities to his followers, seeming, when he sat upon his throne, to have reached the summit of human ambi–tion, and the pinnacle of earthly happiness, and when he followed that man into his closet or to his bed, and considered the pangs with which his solitude must be tortured, and his repose banished, by the re–collection of the blood he had spilled, and the oppressions he had committed; and when he compared with those pangs of remorse, the feelings which must accompa–ny his hon. friend (Mr. Wilberforce) from that house to his home, after the vote of that night should have confirmed the ob–ject of his humane and unceasing labours; when he should retire into the bosom of his happy and delighted family, when he should lay himself down on his bed, reflecting on the innumerable, voices that would be raised in every quarter of the world to bless him; how much more pure and perfect felicity must he enjoy in the consciousness of having preserved so many Millions of his fellow-creatures, than the man with whom he had compared him, on the throne to which he had waded through slaughter and oppression

Mr Hibbert rose,

and spoke in substance as follows:—I rise very reluctantly, sir, to trespass upon the house at this late hour, and immediately after a speech as impres–sively eloquent perhaps as any that was ever delivered within these walls; but extensively connected as I am, and have long been, with the commerce of the West Indies, and having now for the first time a seat in this house, during any debate upon this question, it may be expected that I should not let it pass with merely a silent vote; and I will hope too, that, al–though the subject has been so fully and so frequently canvassed within these walls, I may be pardoned, should I appear, thus Circumstanced, either to recur to what may have been amply discussed, or to question What may have been generally admitted in the course of former debates in this house. I am aware that, in declaring my connec–tion with the West-India trade, I subject myself directly to the charge of a bias of interest, which we have recently been told has clouded the understandings and blun–ted the feelings of that class of persons. Sir, there are others in this house who can better judge than I can, whether my under–standing and my feelings have, in fact, been so perverted, and whether, in extending re–lief to the calamities which in this life, and in this country, one sees, God knows, often enough occurring around us, I am or am not as prompt and zealous as my neigh–bours: and yet, sir, I must say, that after More than 25 years extensive connection with the island of Jamaica, during the grea–ter part of which Period this question has agitated the public mind, and the delibera–tions of the legislature, I have, as impar–tially as I knew how, given to it my utmost attention—derived, from every source I Could command, information concerning it—endeavoured to obtain results consistent and satisfactory to my mind—and am still but the more and more confirmed in Oppo–sition to the object of the bill now before us. I cannot, however, but think it hard, Sir, that West-India proprietors and merchants, persons not destitute of talents and education, and certainly having the mean being well informed on this subject, are yet in a manner banished from the court, while their interests and their properties are liti–gated: they are not allowed to be either judge, jury, witness, or party; for they are told that they quite mistake their own inte–rests, and that others know much better than they do what is good for them. Now surely, sir, they should either be listened to as disinterested evidence, or their par–tial interest should be admitted as proof of the risk which their property is incurring; and the public, so far as it is concerned with them, ought to be aware of the extent of the sacrifice which it may be called upon to make.—Whatever concessions may have been made by those who have preceded me in the debate, I cannot, sir, grant at the outset, that this bill is unquestionably grounded upon humanity and justice, and then debate it as a matter of expedi–ency and policy. There can be no dispute about the obligation of those great princi–ples—it is eternal and immutable as is their nature; and if you admit that the present measure is their necessary dictate, the dispute is at an end. I cannot stand here, and, in opposition to them, calculate the advantage of an increased production of sugar and coffee: but if I had been told, not of this measure now proposed to us, but of any measure that, although it was indisputably enjoined by every principle of justice and humanity, yet that in the course of almost 20 years discussion, it had not been able to make its effective progress through the British parliament (recommen–ded, at the same time, by the cry of the people out of doors, and by an union of the greatest talents within), until it re–ceived the protecting hand of his majesty's principal minister in either house, I should say,"it is impossible; there must be some mistake in the application of these great principles to the measure;" it is one of those perhaps which, grounding itself upon existing and acknowledged abuses, attempts to accomplish objects beyond the reach of legislation, assumes a standard of human perfection which experience does not jus–tify, and puts into hazard existing establishments, which, though imperfect, confer much public and much private benefit, with a promise of substituting what exists only in visionary theory. If so, the mea–sure must be the occasion of just jealousy to a wise legislature, as approaching, in feature and character, to those wild projects of reform, to which the spirit of modern philanthropy has given birth, and of which the civilized world has lately seen the terrible results—projects, sir, that have universally proved subversive of their objects, and have collaterally caused a mass of misery and destruction, of which, to give even a faint and imperfect description, will puzzle the most eloquent of those who shall attempt to convey to posterity a record of the present times.—What is it, sir, that could have resisted a measure, which had been unquestionably built upon those great principles? Is it the opposition of the West India body in parliament? Alas, sir, who ever heard of them as combined into a political phalanx or squad, displaying, in this or in the other house, a compact and regular front in critical moments of the battle and, by judicious manœuvres and co-operations with other bodies, giving and receiving mutual assistance and support? I will not say, whether, had they done so, they would have stood here now defenceless as they do; but I have known the West-India body long, and never saw them thus arrayed and disciplined. In fact, they have felt their intimate connection with all the leading interests of the mother country; they could trace all the profit of their labours into every channel where it might benefit the British capitalist, manufacturer, and landholder; they have looked upon the merchant, the banker, the manu–facturer, the landholder, the soldier, and the seaman in this house as their represen–tatives, and they have experienced occasionally support from them all: more particularly must I declare, with heart-felt gra–titude, that in every rank of the British navy, the colonists have found friends. I believe, sir, I may say, that the British tars are with us to a man: this I cannot but look upon as a favourable omen to our cause; and since those gallant fellows have protected and saved their country in the hour of its greatest danger, and fixed the British name beyond all competition in the brilliant track of glory, they may, in a like extremity (as I consider it), save from ruin the West-India colonies. In this sense it may indeed be said that the West-India interest has influenced the question; but of such influence I feel proud—it is not the influence of intrigue or of party.—Sir, I will now meet the question fairly, and look to the application of these great principles of justice and humanity. Is it pretended, that the mere possession, or use, or transfer of a slave in Africa, is un–just or inhuman? Is it unjust? By all the laws and customs of Africa, existing from the remotest antiquity, it is authorized; and the abstract rights of man cannot be profitably applied to societies existing un–der established laws. What is consistent with those laws, must be accounted just. Is the same thing in Africa inhuman? surely not. We have abundance of evi–dence to prove, that during famines, which are frequent in Africa, multitudes of the natives fly to slavery as a refuge, and with–out it must inevitably perish: and suppose them, at such times, transferred from a poorer to a richer master—is that inhu–man? I could not but shew an expression of dissent to-night, when an hon. gent. (Mr. Fawkes) so positively told us that slavery, and the sale of slaves, were for–bidden by the Divine law. Sir, I did not look for this part of the discussion; but as it has been brought forward, I must say, that in the sacred books I can find no such authority. In the Old Testament, the slave trade, or the sale of men, is spoken of indifferently just as other trades. The New Testament inculcates justice and humanity in every station; but it is remark–able that it interferes with no political re–lations whatsoever, whether high or low; inculcating only those duties which tend in every condition of life to make men happier and better. If we look narrowly there for any thing that refers to slavery, I need not tell the hon. gentlemen who hear me, that the Greek word, which in our version is every where translated servant, does really mean slave: and since the subject has been started, I shall mention, that in the Epistle of Paul to Philemon, Paul sends back Onesimus (whose very name bespeaks his station), who was Philemon's slave, and had run away from his master—he sends him back, I say, to resume his station without one word expressive of his dis–approbation of slavery, or in vindication of Onesimus, who had fled from it. The hon. gent. cited that admirable rule, "Do unto others as ye would that they should do un–to you," as decisive on this question; but how does the hon. gent. read that divine rule as applied to this matter? Does he maintain, that because being a British labourer, I should be glad that my master would pay me wages for doing nothing, that therefore I, being a master, ought so to treat my labourer? As applied to slave and master, I understand that rule to inculcate no more than this; that a slave may reason–ably expect from his master protection and kindness, in return for diligence and fidelity; and a kind and careful master has the same right to expect fidelity and diligence from his slave. Sir, it is not the Slave Trade, but the abuses incident to that trade to which the preamble of this Bill can be properly applied. There can be no ques–tion concerning the injustice, inhumanity, and impolicy, of these abuses; but the pre–amble of the Bill as it stands is, strictly speaking, untrue, and is liable also to ma–ny other objections, which, at a proper time, will be suggested to this house.—The authorities of the many great and emi–nent men who have opposed this trade in parliament, have been brought forward; and the noble lord (Howick) has appealed with triumph to the united sentiments of those eminent characters, Mr. Fox and Mr. Pitt, upon this subject. Of those two great men, sir, I now believe that the veneration is equal on both sides of this house; but this was not the only subject upon which their opinions were in unison. Sir, I recollect, more than 25 years ago, sitting in that gallery, when their elo–quence, like the streams of two mighty ri–vers, which, from their source, had held a separate course, united its prodigious and impetuous volume against one common barrier—the state of the representation of the people in this house; and what followed? The house was delighted, instructed transported, but not convinced. And yet was there any doubt that the state of the representation of the people was unequal nay defective and faulty? Was there not as upon this question, a most prevalent and clamorous opinion out of doors? The machine too was in our hands; no co-operation was needed; we could trace effect directly to its cause; we could substitute instantly the new fabric for the old one; what was it then that stopped our hands? Sir, the house acknowledged the evil, but dreaded the remedy. It was the sentiment of the majority in that day, Rather to bear the ills they had, Than fly to others which they knew not of"; and they added one instance more to many which are on record, in which a wise ant cautious legislature has felt itself bound to delay the remedy of an acknowledged evil, contrary to the sentiments of the people out of doors, and of the greatest orators within.—It is unfair then to call those who oppose the present bill the abettors of slavery and of the slave trade. If a bill were brought into this house with a view to abo- lish forgery, it might take for its preamble properly enough, "Whereas forgery is con–trary to justice;" but if it were to go on to prohibit the use of paper as a medium of exchange, and a representative of money in commerce, and enact, that in future all payments should be made in bullion only, although such a provision might effectually tend to render forgeries less frequent, yet those who should perceive the inexpediency and impracticability of such a measure, in the present state of commerce, and should therefore oppose the bill itself, ought they to be denominated the friends and abettors of forgery? I find myself, sir, exactly thus placed, in respect to the bill now under consideration. No one values more the blessing of liberty, or regrets more the ex–istence and the baneful effects of slavery; no one is more ready to promote whatever may remedy the abuses of the slave trade, or mitigate the miseries of a state of sla–very; but this bill, sir, is not, in my opinion, calculated to accomplish those ob–jects, although it professes to be so: and if, acknowledging the evil, we are not to be allowed to call in question the insufficiency and inapplicability of the remedy, we are treated exactly as a mountebank treats his audience. He pathetically describes every disorder to which the human frame is sub–ject, he touches some spring of sympathy in every one of his hearers, and then offers them his pill, neatly boxed and labelled—"Can you bear to hear of your pains and your sufferings, and not wish to ease them? Here is your cure; take it upon my credit, don't examine into its composition, or en–quire into its operation. You have my word for it, it is safe and easy of digestion, and infallible in its effects." And yet, sir, you would not think that man imprudent, who, before he swallowed the pill, should open and analyze its contents.—The noble lord (Howick) might have spared himself the proof of the small comparative value of the African part of the trade; it has been reduced by successive acts of parliament into the mere means of necessary supply to the population of out old colonies; and, had not those colonies seen abolition sus–pended over their heads, their supply would have been much smaller than the average of late years shews it to have been. There is, in fact, sir, no encouragement to the extension of cultivation in the colonies, under the expence of purchasing negroes for that purpose; and a hasty and some–what improvident importation and purchase of negroes has been here and there occa–sioned by the dread of immediate abolition. I do not believe, that were you to remove that dread, our old colonies would require annually more than 7000 imported slaves: and looking to this limited trade as necessary for the welfare of the colonies, and for the advantage of a population of about 600,000 slaves, already existing there; looking to it as subject to wise and humane regulations, belonging to the British trade alone, and which I think, sir, should not have been opposed (those who opposed them, however, were jealous of an interfe–rence, the extent and full purport of which they could not foresee); looking also, sir, (and this is material,) to what is and has been the state of society in Africa, and the practice there, I cannot think that this rem–nant of the trade, thus existing, and for these purposes, calls upon us for its aboli–tion.—Sir, there has been a great and very prevalent misrepresentation of what was the state of Africa previous to the colonial demand for slaves. I have seen publications coming from respectable quarters, and extensively circulated by the abolitionists, which in positive terms assert, that, before the Europeans began to take slaves from the coast, Africa enjoyed internal tranquillity, and that its wars and its mi–series, as we find them existing at this day, are all imputable to the European slave-trade. There is a pamphlet which has the respectable name of a noble lord* (Muncaster), a member of this house, affixed to it, which, adverting to the account given by Leo Africanus (who wrote about the middle of the 15th century) of the negro nations, states, upon his authority, that the Africans never made war; and his lordship adds, that "this full and positive declaration of the most intelligent historian of Africa, clearly proves that the whole of the slave trade now carried on by the Europeans bar been alone the work, has been entirely brought about by the maritime nations of Europe." To the same purport his lordship reports—"That the amazing numbers which the Europeans are said to have purchased, but which they have unquestionably Carried out of this unhappy country, have been clearly from a trade created, not diverted." Now, sir, it may seem extraordinary, but it is nevertheless true, that although the "intelligent historian," upon whose authority the noble lord grounds * Historical Sketches of the Slave Trade. these assertions, does indeed, in his intro–duction to his seventh book, state, that, acc–ording to the accounts of some preceding traveller, the inhabitants of Negro Land lead a brutal life, waging no wars, nor seeking conquests out of their own limits; yet he, who travelled through these coun–tries himself, and who thinks it necessary to state, as an apology for being less particular respecting one city, that be only staid here a month, Leo goes on to describe the different districts of Negro Land, and his account differs little from what we read of that country at this day. I have the pas–sages in my hand, sir, but I will not detain the house by reading them, in which be states of many of the sovereigns of those parts, that they were perpetually at war, and liable to frequent predatory incursions from their neighbours. The sovereign of Tombuctou, in particular, by his account, was a most savage and insidious tyrant, invading, both by force and fraud, the do–mains of all the petty princes near him. Slaves were publicly sold to the Moors and to the Egyptians, and at so cheap a rate, as that fifteen to twenty were paid for one horse—and for what were these horses wanted, sir?—for the purposes of war: he was the most formidable potentate, who could bring the most numerous cavalry into the field, and these were the instruments with which he invaded and plundered his neighbours. Leo relates of one district, that, being placed betwixt two powerful and war–like states, and having no outlet for its pro–ductions but over mountains impassable by camels, the slaves were compelled to carry over these mountains each a weight of 100lbs. on their heads, for a space of ten miles, and sometimes twice in a day, so that they became bald with the grievous pressure.*—Of Borno, a district of not less than 500 miles in extent from east to west, Leo relates, that the king was perpetually picking quarrels with his neighbours; keeping up a large military force, yet having but little income, excepting what he ob–tained by frequent predatory excursions; so greedy, that, although he possessed plenty of gold, he yet obliged the merchants who traded with him, to take slaves in exchange for what they bought, and some–times detained them from year to year, much against their will, until the season ar–rived for his military expeditions. Here * The circumstance of their becoming bald, is in the French, and not in the Latin, translation of Leo. sir, is Africa, at this early day, inviting the slave trade, not the slave trade seducing Africa. I might quote other passages from this "most intelligent historian," equally tending to shew how unjustifiable is the noble lord's conclusion, upon his authority, but I will beg to refer gentlemen, who may be anxious for correct information, to the book itself, and to the voyages of Cade-mosta, who wrote about the same time, and whose evidence has also been grievously misrepresented. These accounts are not, sir, actually anterior to the com–mencement of the Portuguese trade upon the coast, although contemporary with its infancy, and they have not the smallest connexion with that trade, which commenced, as I understand, in another and more southern district of the coast. I will, also, sir, beg leave to call the attention of gen–tlemen to the accounts of the travellers Bruce and Parke, and more especially of the latter, which relate more directly to the scene of the colonial slave trade; and what–ever use may be made of some pathetic incidents which Parke has related, I will ven–ture to say, that the whole tenour of what he tells us of the Negro nations does not lead to a conviction that we shall better their condition by abandoning this trade. We know that he, after all he had seen, has expressed his doubts upon the subject in the plainest terms—doubts which he would not have expressed had they not been strongly prevalent in his mind. I have read and heard, sir, that we are to look to Parke's facts, and not to his opinions; and it has been insinuated, that his editor, Mr. Edwards, has foisted those opinions into the book. It happened to me, sir, once to converse with Mr. Parke, at a meeting of the Linnean society, when this very topic was started, and he assured me, that, not being in the habits of literary com–position, he was obliged to employ some one to put his manuscript into a form fit for the public eye; but that every sheet of the publication had undergone his strict re–vision, and that not only every fact, but every sentiment of it was his own. What Mr. Parke has written of the Negro na–tions, may be advantageously compared with the comment which Mr. Malthus has connected with it in his book upon Popu–lation. I do not, sir, know the sentiments of Mr. Malthus upon the subject of the slave trade; but from what I read in his book, I gather no hopes of accomplishing a salutary revolution in the state of society in Africa by the operation of this bill.—I beg pardon of the house for thus trespassing upon its patience, but I think it material to shew that the public has not had a candid summary of the evidence on this question laid before it, in the publications which have been so assiduously circulated. Most heartily do I wish, sir, that every hon. gent. who is to give his vote upon this question to-night, could lay his hand upon his heart, and say that he had attentively perused the evidence which lies upon your table. I do not mean all the voluminous accounts and figures, but that which is substantial evi–dence of facts: that he had consulted the originals, and not relied upon extracts, for I am no friend to extracts, either in litera–ture or morality; they are seldom made with an intention of leading us impartially into the spirit of the work from which they are selected.—These are my reasons, sir, for doubting whether even a concurrent abolition of the slave trade would erect the Utopia in Africa which the imagination of the abolitionists has projected; but a par–tial abolition, an abandonment of that small share which we now carry on for the sake of our old colonies, and which we carry on under the strictest regulations for the pre–vention of abuses, cannot pretend to have the smallest effect towards that object. It has the double disadvantage of precluding the hope of our ever bringing about a con–current abolition, and of inviting our rivals to assume, as soon as they can, our place in the trade, infinitely to the disadvantage of Africa in point of humanity. It opens the door to France to form and to extend colonies upon terms the most advantageous, and forbids us, under all possible circum–stances, either of our own, or of rival co–lonies, or of Africa, to support and recruit those we possess by an imported population. Is it, sir, a doubt whether France kill greedily avail herself of this opportu–nity? Is it not, on the contrary, an ac–knowledged axiom of French policy, that her colonial and naval power must rise and all together? We have the recent declaration of him who is now at the head of her government, to this effect; and the history of the French commerce and maritime strength justifies the policy. In 1715, when Louis the XIV. died, she had only 100 ships of small tonnage in her colonial trade; at the time of the revolution, when she was become a formidable naval power, she had in that trade more that 8OO; from the city of Bourdeaux alone, with the colony of St. Domingo, more than 400 vessels, of an average of 400 tons each, and carrying a larger proportionate number of seamen than our ships do, were constantly trading. Her whole export tonnage to all Europe, English America, and the Levant, in 1789, was 580,000 tons, of which only 152,000 were French; so that her colony trade was that alone to which she could look for her useful seamen. Is it then a doubt, sir, with any man in this house, whether France will, at a peace, seek to render her West-India colonies flourishing, and seek to do it by recruiting their population from Africa? As to the Spanish share of the trade, I have it in my power to relate a fact, which ought to make a stronger im–pression than any general reasoning. An hon. baronet, once an intelligent member of this house, and then one of the first, if not the very first, merchant in Europe, now retired both from trade and politics, but whose near relations in this house can con–firm, if need be, the circumstances I state, was, soon after the peace of Amiens, at Paris, where he was applied to by one of the most respectable mercantile houses of that capital, in conjunction with another at Madrid, to undertake the furnishing of 15,000 African slaves for Cuba. Some time was to be allowed for doing it; but 6,000 were to go immediately. My friend replied, that his house had no concern in the African trade; however, considering the respectability of those who applied to him, he undertook to furnish them with the cor–rectest possible information from Liverpool and London upon the subject. He did so; and the result was, that they thanked him for the information, which they said had been useful in convincing them that they could be supplied otherwise upon cheaper terms. However humane our regulation might be, they rendered the freight of the negro too dear, and that would not suit them. This, sir, is a single fact, but it is an authentic and recent one, and of magnitude enough to lead us to re–flect how far we conduce to the advantage of Africa, by abandoning our part of this trade.—It cannot be doubted, sir, that in the West Indies the treatment of slaves has been progressively ameliorated. The ac–counts which have been produced and cited by the noble lord (Howick) tend to prove it. It is stated in those accounts, that the increase by births in proportion to the deaths, has, as far as it can be ascer–tained by these accounts, been advancing and what are we to gather from this, sir, but that the planters do not need the compulsion which you pretend to lay upon, them by this bill, to treat their slaves with humanity? If this fact be connected with the small amount of that supply which the islands now need, do we not see that all the objects which the abolitionists profess to have in view are gained or gaining—that the supply itself is lessening, and the need of that supply lessening too? And this we find is pro–gressively effecting without violence, with–out a measure that may elevate the Blacks into a phrenzy, and plunge the Whites into despair. Admit however, that population by natural means is generally on the ad–vance, or rather that, barring accidents, the decrease is less rapid than it has been, this will not reach individual cases, nor will it remedy those accidents which humanity and vigilance neither can foresee nor pre–vent, and which have so often depopulated particular districts and whole islands.—There have been, sir, in the course of the debate, different measures of gradual abo–lition proposed, as substitutes for this bill. I cannot engage to support them; but, considering the disposition now pre–vailing in parliament, it may be said that his majesty's ministers, in respect to this measure, are all powerful; they need no concurrence on our side; and the respon–sibility rests upon them not to inflict a se–vere and a dangerous remedy, if a safer and a milder will answer the purposes of humanity as well. Of the instances of cruelty which an hon. general (sir John Doyle) has detailed to the house, two, I ob–serve, were perpetrated by females; and I hope that the trite observation, corruptio bonarum pessima, may be applied to these cases. If there exist the smallest doubt whether the general treatment of the slaves in the West Indies be kind and humane, why not send out, as has been suggested, a par–liamentary commission, to enquire into and to report the facts, rather than subject a large class of British subjects to the odium of their countrymen, by presenting, under aggravated colours, a few instances of atrocity, committed by individuals, of whom good and bad are to be found in every society? I can state, with the utmost truth, that I have been connected as a merchant with about 60 estates in the island of Jamaica, and that, in the late distresses of the trade, we have been compelled to ob–serve the utmost economy in the amount and value of the supplies sent out; and yet in not one single instance have we curtailed, or been desired to curtail, the articles which have been sent out for the use and comfort of the negroes, although, in almost every instance, we have done so in respect to those for the use of the whites.—There is not yet, sir, any distinct under–standing whether this bill is or is not to be accompanied with a provision of compensation for those whom its operation may injure; and, unless some pledge to that ef–fect be given, I must consider that the in–justice it may inflict upon individuals is a fair argument against its principle. The noble lord (Howick) has stated, that it has not been usual for parliament on simi–lar occasions to provide compensation prospectively; and yet, sir, in those recent instances in which the legislature judged it fit to interfere merely with ancient usages (not with rights established under acts of parliament) for the sake of effecting improvements in the port of London; I mean in the West-India and London dock acts—a provision of prospective compensa–tion, most liberal in its extent, is made for every description of persons to whose loss or injury those bills might operate. This, sir, is what we have done; and let me state a case which may happen, nay, which pro–bably will happen, if the spirit of reform be consistent. There are, sir, in this country, and more especially in the northern coun–ties, many large factories built, where 3 or 400 persons are often confined together employed in the spinning of cotton and silk: I am prepared to say, sir, and there are many in this house who can confirm it, that those establishments, although highly advantageous in a commercial view, are fatal both to the health and to the morals of his majesty's subjects: now, supposing that the philanthropic spirit were to be ex–tended to them, and their further exten–sion at least forbidden; supposing we were to say, "We pretend not to interfere with what exists already; keep the labourers you have got, we will not emancipate them, they are not fit for emancipation, they are corrupted and disordered, and incapable of the regular duties of life; but not one more ruddy-cheeked boy or blooming girl shall you seduce from their ignorant and deluded parents, and immure in your putrid haunts of vice and disease. Tell us not of your ventilators and your artificial gasses; the thing is contrary to first principles, and it must be discontinued." Now, can we believe that he who had just built, at a con? siderable expence, one of these factories, and had partially, or not at all, supplied it with labourers, would not this case call aloud for compensation? and could that compensation be justly denied to him? And yet, sir, the silk and cotton factor has not greater legislative authority to plead than has the West-India planter for his establish–ment; nor is the supposed case which I have put of the former harder than the real one of the latter, after this bill passes; and, independently of the general case, there are individual cases of peculiar hard–ship, those of minors, of lessors, and of proprietors of estates under trust, whose estates, immediately after this bill passes, will be either considerably depreciated, or of no value at all.—There are some, sir, who will admit the truth of many of the considerations I have urged: they will admit that we are about to make a sacrifice that is to cost us much, and to profit others little or nothing. "But," say they, "there is connected with the slave trade much abuse and much inhumanity, and, at all events, we will wash our hands of any share in it; we will have nothing to do with that which is either the offspring or the pa–rent of vice." Gentlemen should consider, sir, how far they would follow this prin–ciple, and whither it would lead them: it would certainly go the length of suppressing the licensing of alehouses, and the continuance of lotteries: can the mischiefs with which these are connected in society be doubted? If, sir, I were inclined to at–tempt the feelings of gentlemen in this house with a pathetic story, I could shew them, and at no great distance from the metropolis, an industrious mother with 6 or 8 children, their countenances pale, their limbs emaciated, and their bodies swoln with famine, picking up a scan–ty and insufficient subsistence by the only labour which such feeble hands can execute, while the father of this family, he who ought to support them, is taking what is called a plunge at the neighbouring ale–house, spending the fruits of one week's labour, and mortgaging that of another; and this after having carried away the lea–thern bag from the cottage roof, which con–tained the pence and sixpences, the hard savings of the year (saved to pay the rent at Lady-day), and having sunk the whole of it with one of those itinerant propagators of ruin who now invade the privacy of your remotest villages with a cart stuck over with lottery bills. This, sir, is not a fictitious nor an uncommon case, and yet our Philanthropists do not make it the theme of declamation or the object of reform. This is too near and too obvious for them; their aim is more distant, their scope is larger; the spirit of modern reform does not act, sir, like the rational principle of self-love so beautifully described by the poet, which first puts the centre in motion, and then extends itself in progressive circles of bene–ficence to the extremities; the spirit of modern reform attacks at once the connecting chain of the system, and, if the whole do not fall to pieces at its touch, it works inwards till it shakes the centre. I must, for the reasons I have given, vote against the second reading of the bill.

Mr. Wilberforce

replied to the principal arguments which had been urged against the bill. He observed, that ever since he had engaged in this discussion, he had al–ways endeavoured to avoid any expres–sion which might he considered unjustly injurious towards those who opposed him. But it was not to be expected that the friends of the abolition were to overlook the general effect of human passions. Despotic power could not be possessed without much abuse in the exercise of it. All that he imputed to the West-India planters was, that they had yielded to the circumstances under which they existed. The children in the islands were accus–tomed to see an order of beings around them which they were taught to consider as inferior. Thus their prejudices were formed. It was not them, therefore, that he blamed, but those who, though not placed in a situation to be misled on the subject of this traffic, and who had the opportunity of seeing its horrors in their true colours, who possessed the power of putting an end to the evil, and yet had suffered it to exist. He referred to Mr. Parke's book, to shew the evils which the slave trade created in Africa. It had been contended that Mr. Malthus, in his Essay on Population, had favoured the slave trade; the fact, however, was not so Indeed, Mr. Malthus had called upon him that day, and expressed his surprise to have learned, that in some publications of the day he was regarded as a favourer of the slave trade; and stated that he had written an appendix to his work, to remove that impression. It was said, why not put an end to the lottery, and other evils in this country? He acknowledged that he considered the lottery a very bad mode of raising money, and would concur in any measure for putting an end to it, if there were any prospect of success in the at–tempt; but he was sorry to see gentlemen reduced to arguments of this sort. They searched out every recess of misery and vice in their own country, they looked around them every where for evils, and hugged them all to their bosoms. With regard to the complaints that had been made of his conduct towards the West-In–dia planters, he had always been as just towards those gentlemen as he could. He had never behaved to them with any harsh–ness, but he could never carry complaisance so far towards them, or any set of men alive, as to compliment away the rights and happiness of millions of human beings. The hon. gent. pronounced an eulogium upon the display of character and talent which the house had that night witnessed on the side of humanity and justice, parti–cularly on the part of the younger mem–bers; whose lofty and liberal sentiments recommended and enforced by the eleva–tion of their rank, and the purity of their form, must tend to produce the happiest ef–fects upon all classes of the community. Such an indication of mind and feeling must afford gratification to any reflecting man, and diffuse the most salutary lessons throughout the country; must shew to the people, that their legislators, and especially the higher order of their youth, were for–ward to assert the rights of the weak against the strong; to vindicate the cause of the oppressed; and that where a practice was found to prevail, inconsistent with huma–nity and justice, no consideration of profit could reconcile them to its continuance. The generous and humane principles which had been that day unfolded, were worthy of a British parliament to teach, and of a British people to learn

Sir John Doyle,

in explanation, stated, that the instances of oppression and cru–elty which he had cited, had taken place in Carolina, when under the government of this country

Mr. Manning

was convinced that the abolition of the African slave trade would not be attended with the injury apprehended to the West-India planters. The negro population of our colonies would, he was sure, be kept up without it. He had no estate in the British colonies. But in the Danish island of Santa Cruz he had an estate; and there his Danish majesty, by an edict in 1783, put an end to the impor–tation of slaves, after the lapse of ten years; and ever since then the negro population required no aid from African importation

Mr. Hiley Addington

could only be induced to assent to the measure upon one principle, namely that of the modification proposed to be introduced in the commit–tee by his right hon. relation (Mr. Ba–thurst), for postponing to a more distant pe–riod the final abolition, and for a gradual progress in the measure

Earl Percy

suggested, that a principle which he should wish to introduce into the bill, towards the final emancipation of the negroes, would be to declare every ne–gro child free, who shall be born in his majesty's dominions after the 1st of January, 1810.—The question was now loudly called for, and the house divided. Ayes 283, noes 16, majority 267. The house then resolved itself into a com–mittee pro formâ, and at half-past four adjourned