HC Deb 22 February 1830 vol 22 cc799-800

On the Motion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the order of the day for considering the Report of the Committee of Ways and Means having been read, Sir A. Grant brought up the Report.

On the question that it be read,

Mr. O'Connell

asked the right hon. the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether his Majesty's Government had been apprised of a law recently passed by the State of Georgia, imposing quarantine upon foreign vessels having on board free men of colour. By this regulation it would seem as if British subjects, not being white, were considered by the State of Georgia as a sort of pestilential objects: he wished to know whether steps had been taken to protect the rights of such individuals?

Mr. Peel

said, that Government had learned within the last few days (on the 12th of February), that the State of Georgia had lately passed an Act, imposing a quarantine of forty days upon vessels containing free persons of colour, and coming either from other States of the American Union or from foreign countries. The subject was now under consideration, having been referred to the King's Advocate, and he could not as yet speak explicitly upon the point. The measure alluded to quarantine regulations avowedly, but evidently contemplated another object—the prevention of all intercourse between the free people of colour in Georgia, and those coming from other places. It might be a question whether a regulation such as this did not contravene commercial regulations entered into between the two countries; however, he was not yet able to speak positively, the subject being under consideration before the proper legal authority.

The Report was read, and the several Resolutions agreed to.