HC Deb 15 May 1823 vol 9 cc255-6

Numerous petitions, from various parts of the kingdom, were presented, praying for the Abolition of Slavery.

Mr. Baring

presented a petition from the agents of the West India colonies against any interference with the existing laws respecting Slavery. The hon. member said, he would not then express any opinion upon the question which was to be discussed that evening; but he could not refrain from observing, that it was one of the greatest importance, and involved the security of property to an immense amount, belonging to subjects of this country, as well as the lives and means of subsistence of all the West India colonists. The petitioners had no objection to the amelioration of the condition of the slaves. Indeed, they considered that amelioration as essential to the welfare of both parties; but it was another question, whether property, which had been acquired under the sanction of that House, should be taken away. If that property was to be said to be stamped with the character of immorality and injustice, he should be glad to know what improved morality and justice there was in the arbitrary deprivation of property, the acquisition of which the laws had allowed? He had always been a sincere abolitionist, and he had never given a vote with more pleasure than the one he had given on that question. He was also anxious to relieve the present race of slaves in the West Indies; hut he was of opinion, that any measure having that object in view should be dictated by prudence and reason, and not by the new lights of enthusiasm and madness. To bring forward the subject of the abolition of slavery in that House, was to shed blood in the West Indies, and to cause a rebellion.

The several petitions were ordered to lie on the table, and to be printed.

Forward to