§ On the Speaker calling on Mr. Powell Buxton, Lord Althorp rose to request his hon. friend not to bring forward to-night his Motion regarding the abolition of Slavery. He apprehended that it would be disadvantageous both to the question and to the House, if it were introduced at the present moment; he hoped, therefore, that his hon. friend would be induced to defer it, until the plan which his Majesty's Ministers had to propose could be made known.
§ Mr. Fowell Buxton
replied, that no man was more conscious than he was how much better it would be for the subject to be introduced by Government, and he was willing to relinquish his Motion upon two conditions—First, if Ministers were prepared with a plan for the entire and immediate extinction of slavery; second, if they would name a day when they would state that plan to the House. He might be thought very obstinate, and he was far from wishing to impede the measures of Government, but he well knew his fate if he consented to abandon the ground he at present occupied. Until June next there was not a vacant day in the Order-book, and, after Easter, the great questions of the Bank of England, of the East-India Charter, 827 with the distress of England, Ireland, and Scotland, besides finance, would remain to be discussed. To postpone his Motion, therefore, would in effect be to abandon it. Now, he was convinced, that it was absolutely indispensable that this question should be settled; and further, that if it was not settled, and speedily settled, in that House, it would be settled elsewhere, in another and more disastrous manner. However painful, therefore, it might be to him to appear to be obstinate, and to resist a request which had been before made to him in private, and which was now in this manner urged publicly upon him, he must refrain from consenting to withdraw the Motion, unless the noble Lord would tell him that the Government agreed to two conditions. The first was, that the noble Lord should now state the nature of the plan which the Government intended to propose; and the second, that they should fix a day for the introduction of their measure on this subject into the House. If they did not do these things, he should feel himself compelled, in spite of all the objections he felt to such a course of proceeding, to enforce his right of bringing on the consideration of this subject immediately.
§ Lord Althorp
observed, that one of the conditions proposed by the hon. Member was that with which it was impossible he should comply; but with respect to the other—the naming of a day on which the Government proposed to lay their views on this subject before the House, he had no objection to state it. He should name, then, Tuesday, the twenty-third of April. He trusted, that the hon. Member would see that he should not be performing his duty if he were to state more at the present time.
§ Mr. Fowell Buxton
said, when he spoke of bringing on the question immediately, if the nature of the plan in contemplation of the Government was not then stated, he had used expressions which conveyed more than he meant to say. He only in tended to obtain from the Government a pledge that a measure should be speedily introduced, and he trusted that it would be safe and satisfactory. He was content to rely, in the meantime, on the assurance of the noble Lord, and should, therefore, withdraw his Motion for the present.
§ Motion postponed.