HC Deb 18 July 1831 vol 4 cc1439-41

On the resolution, that 25,000l. be granted for the support of Captured Negroes and Liberated Africans,

Mr. Warre

complained of the disgraceful continuance of the slave-trade, on the coast of Africa, and of the expense to which this country was subjected, by the culpable conduct of other Powers, in suffering their subjects to prosecute the Trade. No expense or trouble, on our parts, had been spared, to put down this most detestable traffic. But at length we were compelled to make this painful confession— that after all these exertions, and expenditure of treasure, and human life, we were thwarted by other countries. He had the authority of the Secretary of War for asserting, that since 1814, the expenses incurred had been nearly 5,000,000l. The several charges for the establishments we maintained, was not less than 400,000l. He therefore requested Ministers to maturely examine this ques- tion in all its bearings; and consider whether it was advisable to continue such heavy expenses, without a prospect of success, while unsupported or opposed by other nations.

Mr. Burge

regretted to understand that the Foreign Slave-trade had been considerably increased, and was carried on in the most inhuman and revolting manner. He had given notice of a motion, on a previous night, to inquire into the whole subject of the Slave-trade, which had been postponed at the instance of the noble Lord, but the matter, he hoped, would not escape the vigilant attention of Government.

Mr. Hume

was convinced this expense might be very much reduced, or altogether spared. There was no good reason for this country supporting Africans in idleness, in Sierra Leone, and they ought to have some explanation, whether any captured Negroes had been actually so supported. We had made this trade much worse by our interference. If other countries resisted the right of search of vessels on the African Coast, it was much more advisable for this country to give up this enormous expenditure of money, than to continue it, in the vain hope of abating the Slave-trade.

Mr. Spring Rice

would be glad to give the information desired by the hon. member for Middlesex, at a future opportunity. The observation of the hon. member for Hastings involved the question of the Foreign Slave-trade, into which it was not expedient to enter.

Mr. Hume

wished a Committee to be appointed, to follow up the inquiries that had been commenced. That was the information he required. Every information connected with the subject should be obtained. They had heard of slave-trading vessels being crowded with four or five times the number of unhappy creatures which ought to be on board them, and misery and death had much increased in consequence.

Mr. Spring Rice

said, very great attention had been paid by Ministers to this subject, and it was still under their consideration.

Vote agreed to.

19,450l. was then voted for the expenses of the Commissions, under the Treaties with Foreign Powers, for the abolition of the Slave Trade.

Lord Althorp

explained, that the settle- ment at Sierra Leone had been removed to Fernando Po, where it was necessary to establish buildings for the Commissioners and Officers, but it now appeared that Fernando Po belonged to the Spaniards. They had not attempted, therefore, to remove the settlement from Sierra Leone, until this question was settled; for it would be absurd to lay out money at a place under such circumstances.