HC Deb 30 May 1833 vol 18 cc112-66

The Order of the Day for the House resolving itself into a Committee of the whole House, on the subject of Colonial Slavery, was read.

On the Question that the Speaker do leave the Chair,

Sir Richard Vyvyan

said that, of all the questions that could be brought under the consideration of the House, none were of a more difficult nature than those in which strong opinions, partly of a religious description, and partly founded on a philosophic view of the dignity of the human species, came into contact with deep convictions of the ruin and degradation which their enactment would cause to both property and persons. Of that class was the discussion into which the House was about to enter. On the one side were ranged persons connected with the subject by religious opinions, who for many years had been in pursuit of an object which they deemed of importance to human nature; while on the other were to be found individuals who, themselves deeply involved in the settlement of the question, came forward and assured the House, that the wishes of their opponents, if carried into effect, would be attended by the ruin of themselves and their posterity. Such being the case, need he impress upon the House that there never was a debate which more required forbearance, conciliatory spirit, and and patient attention on the part of those who might enter into the discussion, than that which he was about to open? The legislative rights of the colonists had been unjustly and wantonly attacked by his Majesty's Ministers, on whom the experience of the American contest seemed thrown away. He believed that the attack had been made without any calculation of its effects or possible consequences; or if Ministers had made a calculation, it was merely of the weakness of their victims. He wished to call the attention of those whom he had the honour to address to those recent changes in the constitution of Parliament which materially affected the question now at issue. The British colonies, whether in the West Indies, North America, the Cape of Good Hope, or the East Indies, had had a virtual and an indirect representation in the House of Commons before the Reform Bill had passed. Although the colonies, it was true, had not sent Members into the House, still there were persons in Parliament who were completely connected with their interests, who could explain their wants, communicate their views, and expostulate on their behalf with Ministers against any acts which might tend to endanger them. But now the system was changed, and that change more seriously affected the interests of the colonies than of any other portion of the British dominions. During the time that the Reform Bill had been in progress through the House, an hon. Member (the Member for Middlesex) had brought forward a proposal to give a direct representation to the colonies; but that motion had been laid aside, and colonial Representatives had not been admitted into Parliament. The inhabitants of Manchester, of Birmingham, and of the great manufacturing and commercial towns had obtained their rights, at least such of the inhabitants as occupied houses worth 10l. a year. These rights had been granted to the 10l. householders upon an abstract principle whilst it had been denied to West-India proprietors, though they might possess property worth 10,000l. or even 10,000l. a year. Thus by the new system not only the West-India Colonies but the great cities of the East, containing merchants of princely incomes, were to be governed and controlled by the delegates of the inhabitants of the shops and the factories, and even of the watering-places of the United Kingdom. No ordinance of a conqueror in a country newly acquired by force of arms could be more tyrannical than the decree of those who framed the Reform Bill with respect to the colonies. He at least trusted, since the House of Commons had assumed to itself a metropolitan power unenjoyed by ancient Rome, that it would show itself more delicate than it had previously been in meddling with the rights and interfering with the property of fellow-subjects, or in attempting to injure the property of those who had no direct Representatives within the walls of Parliament. There could be no shadow of an argument for the House interfering with colonial rights and property after it had done away with the indirect representation which the colonies had formerly possessed. The House had no right to interfere with those colonies, which had Legislatures of their own, especially when they denied them, in common with others, the privilege of sending Representatives to Parliament. The Colonial Legislatures had foreseen this case immediately the Reform Bill had been introduced. They foresaw it long before the Reformed Parliament had met; and when the Assembly of the Island of Jamaica was convened, they answered the address of the Earl of Mulgrave in the terms which clearly proved that they were fully convinced that, whatever might be the impresssion of Ministers in England, the great question of colonial emancipation would be pressed upon the House, and that the colonial interests would be attacked and would probably be made a sacrifice. In the address of the Colonial Assembly to the Earl of Mulgrave, they stated: 'As this House never did recognise the Resolutions of Parliament in 1823—as this House never did admit the right of the House of Commons to legislate on the internal affairs of Jamaica, even when the West-Indies was indirectly represented in Parliament, we never can concede that a House of Commons, which is to exist upon the principle that actual Representation should be the foundation of legislation, can justly claim to legislate over us, their free fellow-countrymen, in all respects their equals, but who have not, and cannot have, any voice whatever at their election, by whom, in consequence, we are not represented; who are strangers to our condition and interest, and whose attempt to dictate to us would, consequently, upon all their own principles—the principles of their own existence as a legislative body—be tyranny and not legislation. Experience prevents us from deluding ourselves with the hope of a dispassionate and impartial result from the proceedings of any Committee of the Commons' House in relation to the West-Indies; nor are we strangers to the fact that pledges are now being exacted from candidates for seats in the new Imperial Parliament to vote in respect of the colonies, according to popular dictation, and not after ample and patient examination.' Such had been the solemn declaration of the House of Assembly in Jamaica at their first meeting last year, when they knew that the Reform Bill had passed, and that they were not virtually represented in Parliament. It might be presumed that Lord Mulgrave would not comply with such an address, or agree to treat the Assembly as an independent State. His Lordship, in his reply, had said: 'It certainly would not become me to enter into any discussion with you as to the principles on which you suppose the Representation of the people of England to have been amended by the Bill passed for its Reform; nor do I know by what right you assume, in addressing me, that the West-Indies were ever indirectly more re-presented in Parliament than they will be now. It was then, as now, only as Representatives, legally elected by the people of the United Kingdom, to superintend the interests of the whole empire, that gentlemen connected with this island could have a seat in that House, or could belong to one branch of that Imperial Legislature, the omnipotence of whose united voice to legislate for the whole empire, if it so think fit, is beyond dispute.' The declaration of Lord Mulgrave, the Representative of his Majesty, exactly tallied with the feelings of the right hon. Secretary (Mr. Stanley). But was the Earl of Mulgrave correct in what he had stated with respect to the indirect Representation of West-Indian interests in Parliament. No one could deny, he thought, that the West-India interest had some reason to complain at being deprived of that indirect Representation which it had enjoyed in that House previous to the passing of the Reform Bill—[cries of "No, no" from the Treasury Benches]. Gentlemen said "No;" but he asked where was Mr. Irving, who was one of the greatest West-India merchants—had he obtained a seat in that House? [Mr. Secretary said, across the Table: "No, he has not, but his partner has."] It was true his partner had come in, but it was not at the general election. In fact, it was notorious, that persons connected with the West-India interest could not obtain seats at the last election, unless where they happened to be supported by his Majesty's Government. Even the agents and those other Gentlemen who had got into the House, had entered under the influence of Ministers. The agents of the colonies who had not attended to the suggestions of Ministers, and did not belong to their party, were excluded. When he and others had said, that the boroughs of Old Sarum, of Gatton, and the other boroughs of schedule A and schedule had not merely returned English Members to Parliament, but had been the means of affording to the colonies the advantage of an indirect Representation, they had been sneered at or their assertions had been denied; but had not subsequent events proved the correctness of their views? The reply of the Earl of Mulgrave had been met by a declaration from the Assembly of Jamaica in the month of November last, in which they said: 'That this House observe, with regret, the animadversions of his Excellency, the Governor, on some parts of their address, in answer to his Excellency's speech at the opening of the Session. The House disavow any intention, on their part, to deviate from that tone of conciliation which pervades his Excellency's speech. It was the most anxious wish of the House to express to his Excellency their devoted attachment to their Sovereign, and their high respect and personal consideration for his Excellency as Governor of the island. The House, however, feel it imperative on them, and in accordance with former precedents to declare, without meaning to offend or to infringe on the rights of others, that it is their determination, as it is their duty, to maintain, steadily, the privileges and immunities which the free inhabitants of Jamaica are entitled to, in common with other British subjects; these are so well defined by law, and sanctioned by long usage, as not to be mistaken. The House, therefore, rely with perfect confidence, that whilst they confine them-selves to the conscientious discharge of their duty, they will receive from the Representatives of their Sovereign the most favourable construction of their acts and intentions which is due to them as loyal and faithful subjects; but this House must protest, on behalf of their constituents, as well as of themselves, against the doctrine stated by his Excellency as applicable to this colony, which asserts, as beyond dispute, the transcendant power of the Imperial Legislature, regulated only by its own discretion, and limited only by restrictions they may themselves have imposed. Such a doc-trine is as subversive of the acknowledged rights, as it is dangerous to the lives and properties of his Majesty's faithful and loyal subjects of this island, who, although they acknowledge the supremacy of a common Sovereign over the whole empire, never can admit such supremacy in one portion of his Majesty's subjects residing in the parent State over another portion of their fellow-subjects resident in Jamaica. He was quoting facts and official documents, and could not but express his regret, that the Houses of Parliament had never attended to the Representation of the Colonial Assemblies. The Houses of Assembly had repeatedly addressed the most respectful language to their Sovereign, but their addresses had never been attended to. The language of the colonists had always been that of loyalty to the King; it always showed good feeling to their fellow-subjects of Great Britain, and of the other parts of the empire. Prone to respect the lights of others, the colonists had justly expressed their determination to defend their own. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Stanley), in his speech the other night, had stated that he would not enter minutely into or discuss fully where the right of the Mother Country to interfere either began or ended. Those were the words of the right hon. Gentleman. He had added, that he knew of no boundary line, and he left it to others to point out in what charter or where such self-denying ordinances might be found. Dangerous as were many of the propositions of the right hon. Gentleman—

Mr. Stanley

in explanation said, that what he had stated was, that there was no limitation to the authority of Parliament, but that which Parliament had itself imposed. With respect to the internal taxation of the colonies, Parliament had imposed certain restraints on itself, when the power of internal taxation was vested in the Colonial Legislatures.

Sir Richard Vyvyan

resumed. If the right hon. Gentleman supposed that internal taxation of the colonies was alone the point in which Parliament had no right to interfere, he at once disposed of his own general principle. If Parliament at its own will and pleasure, had declared that it had no right to interfere with the internal taxation of the Colonies, did the right hon. Gentleman suppose that Parliament, at its will and pleasure, could not at any time resume the other principle? Whatever the right hon. Gentleman said in that House as a Minister of the Crown, and as the head of the Colonial Department, it was important that his words should go forth to the Colonies, and that they should know how far they had or had not the right to legislate for themselves. Whether they had a right to legislate upon some or upon all systems of taxation, or how far they might legislate with respect to social regulations of their slaves, ought to be clearly understood. The right hon. Gentleman apparently meant to say, that Parliament had the right to interfere in questions of internal taxation in the Colonies. But the right of self-taxation was that which the Colonial Legislatures the most insisted upon. He would deny the proposition which the right hon. Gentleman had maintained, that delegated authority could be cancelled or recalled at the pleasure of him who delegated it. No man had asserted that any delegated authority could ever exceed that which the delegator had the power to bestow; but he would maintain, that power once delegated never could be rescinded. The powers originally granted to Parliament had only been delegated by the King. Was not this the case with respect to the powers given to Parliament by King John and by King Edward, and had those Sovereigns any right to revoke what they had once granted I If the principle were good, it applied to small affairs as well as to great. The principle had always been, that authority granted indefinitely by a royal power, whether like the charter of Louis 18th, or the charters granted to corporations, or those granted to the Colonies, could not be revoked by the will of the grantor. If this were the doctrine with respect to Sovereigns, he knew not how a contrary opinion could prevail with respect to Parliament and inferior bodies. He would now go back to the case of Mr. Otis in 1765. At that moment a great deal of discontent had prevailed against the mother country; but the language of the provinces was mild, nor were they disposed to break out into violence, or to oppose the Government. The grounds of complaint had been the right to levy taxes, the right of sending troops from Great Britain, and the right of internal legislation. The right hon. Gentleman had said that Mr. Otis had declared that as the colonies were separate dominions, and distant from the mother country, and as they were unrepresented in Parliament, they ought to be governed by laws of their own making. This had been the opinion of Mr. Otis before the great struggle commenced, before swords had been drawn or a shot had been fired. Notwithstanding this the Government pressed on their measure; they would persevere in their designs; and Mr. Otis and the other men met at Boston, Resolutions were passed, affairs proceeded, till war was produced, and the separation of the colonies followed. But Mr. Otis had acknowledged that there were great questions in which the mother country had a right of interference, and the only point to settle was, what those questions were. He would take the famous Navigation Act as an example. The Navigation Act was a severe tax and infliction on the colonies. It hindered the colonists from taking advantage of the cheapest vessels in transporting their goods, and obliged them to abstain from employing foreign vessels, which would have benefitted their interests; and yet no instance was found of the colonists protesting against the Navigation Act or declaring, that the Mother country had no right to enforce it. He would take another question which had been stated by the right hon. Gentleman himself. The question of the slave trade was completely an imperial question. It was a trade on the high seas; the greater number of ships employed in it sailed from ports in Great Britain. The question was therefore of importance. The honour of the country was involved in it, and it applied to the harbours of England. It was therefore an English question, and the Legislature of England had a right to interfere in it. But this was a case totally distinct from the existence of slavery in the Colonies. The one was an external question, connected with the Navigation Act; but the question of slavery was internal, and confined to the colonies themselves. The right hon. Gentleman had made allusions to the Acts of 1778—those Acts, as they were termed, of conciliation and pacification so disgraceful to the country, as they came too late for its humanity and honour, and not early enough to prevent the war. As Parliament was resolved at the present moment to carry into effect all its pleasures, was it not possible that a time might arrive when it might have reason to entertain the strongest wish to abandon the Resolutions—as strong a wish as that felt in 1778, when Lord North came down to the House amidst a gloom, a discontent, and silence, which were remarked by those who took part in the parliamentary proceedings of that day to be so severe that for a long time no Gentleman rose to answer him? Astonishment and dejection were painted on the countenance of all present. Was it not possible, notwithstanding the solemn and bold manner of the right hon. Gentleman, that a time might come when, in consequence of foreign interference, some other Minister might be compelled to come down to the House, and make a proposition not unlike that which had been made by Lord North? 'One of the Bills, said that Minister, I propose to move for is, to quiet America upon the subject of taxation, and to remove all fears, real or pretended, of Parliament ever attempting to tax them again, and to take away all exercise of the right itself, in future, so far as regards revenue. As to the other particulars in controversy, the Americans have desired a repeal of all I the Acts passed since 1763; this cannot however, be supposed to mean any more than those Acts which have, in some way or other, pressed on them; for some which passed in 1769 were beneficial, and such as they themselves must consider in that light, being the granting of bounties and premiums, or the relaxation of former Statutes that had been grievous to them. As to the late Acts—such as the Massachusetts charter, the Fishery, and the Prohibitory Bills—as they were the effect of the quarrel, they should cease; and as to the complaints of matters of a various nature, authority shall be given to settle them to the satisfaction of America?'

Such was the important part of Lord North's speech; but it was then too late to recede, and England lost those colonies, which, in the first instance, she had deemed too feeble to offer resistance. He knew that the right hon. Gentleman had argued, that if men would resist the measure he had brought forward, they must take the consequence. The hon. member for Weymouth (Mr. Powell Buxton) had likewise subscribed to this doctrine, that if the white inhabitants of the colonies opposed the measures of Government, and would not emancipate their slaves, they must expect to meet with no assistance from the mother country, but to experience nothing but coercion. He (Sir Richard Vyvyan) did not like to contemplate or suppose the possibility of an attempt on the part of Ministers to tyrannize over the colonies to the extent that violence must be the inevitable consequence. He trusted that Ministers never would induce the colonies to looK for foreign assistance, or to keep up any foreign correspondence. It was still in the power of the House to act upon the principles of conciliation, and to meet the colonists half way. Time and circumstances, notwithstanding what the hon. member for Weymouth might think, might offer to the colonists the temptation of receiving foreign assistance. Time and circumstances had formerly offered to France, and afterwards to Spain, such an opportunity of affording assistance to the colonies; and he would most earnestly press this part of the question upon the attention of Parliament. The question was one which involved the rights and liberties of their fellow-subjects. He was anxious to press this part of the question upon the House, in consequence of a paper he had received that day, and which he was authorized to lay before the House. It was a copy of the instructions which had been received by the Deputies from the island of Jamaica, upon their quitting the island to proceed to this country. After this paper should have been read, let it not be said, that he had been doing anything to instigate the colonists. The hon. Baronet read the following paper:— The object of the Assembly of Jamaica in sending a Committee of their members to England was, to offer such information to Government and to Parliament as might correct their opinion of the condition of the slave population. It is the duty of the Committee, if they shall find emancipation to be the general desire of their fellow-subjects, not to oppose a resistance which is sure to be unavailing, and may be misunderstood. They are expected to make themselves acquainted with the ultimate views of the emancipationists; and if those views contemplate the dissolution of colonial society, and the demolition of property, which must be the consequence of unconditional freedom, they are instructed to demand a full compensation according to the value of property, before it was unsettled by the agitation of the question. If by emancipation is meant the substitution of a system of free labour, in the room of slavery, which shall secure to the planters the cultivation of their lands, the Committee are to require compensation equivalent to the portion of labour, of which they may be deprived, and to the risk of loss and suffering which so complete a change may bring with it. The Committee are bound to insist, that the expense of an adequate police, and all other costs of the arrangement, shall be defrayed by Government. They are also to protest, in the most de- cided manner, against any interposition or Parliament in their internal affairs. The Assembly of Jamaica are always ready, on the invitation of the Crown, to discuss the maasure of emancipation, compensation being first provided by Parliament, but they will not yield their legislative rights, except to violence, which their confidence in the justice of their fellow-subjects will not permit them to apprehend. This document was officially signed by Richard Barrett, the Speaker of the House of Assembly of Jamaica. After having read the paper to the House, he hoped that no man would say, that he had laid too much stress upon the case. A great public principle was involved in this question. Independent of the West Indians themselves, there were many great interests involved in the question, and some of which had been adverted to at public meetings. The great meeting that had been held at the City of London Tavern ought alone to be sufficient to convince his Majesty's Ministers that there was a strong and deep conviction in the minds of those who were not connected with the West Indies, that if the plan of the right hon. Gentleman were to be carried into effect, inevitable ruin would ensue. The right hon. Gentleman had said, that he intended to diminish the quantity of sugar, for, in his opinion, the increase of the cultivation of sugar had much to do with the decrease of population. But did the right hon. Gentleman look to the immediate reduction of the revenue, and how that reduction would bear on the interests of all classes in the country? But what need was there to enter upon the subject, when the right hon. Gentleman must know, and every individual must know, that the interests connected with the West-India islands were numerous and important. Vast numbers of manufacturers were kept in employment throughout all the manufacturing districts, by the demands of the West-India markets. Enormous sums of money were spent by West-India proprietors in England. The shipping interest was greatly involved in the question, for immense exports, as well as imports, depended upon the issue. If the right hon. Gentleman were really serious in his intention to diminish the quantity of sugar grown in the English colonies, did he mean to drive the British purchaser to the foreign colonies, in which the produce of sugar would not be decreased, and in which it was all the result of slave labour? If, in consequence of any alteration in the colonial system, the right hon. Gentleman should diminish the quantity of sugar supplied by our colonies to the consumer in England, the consequence would be a bounty upon the slave labour of foreign colonies, such as the Brazils and the Spanish islands. The right hon. Gentleman had been guilty of making attacks upon the West-India interest with a view of showing that it was necessary for him to bring forward a plan which might at last satisfy the violent party at the other side of the House. It was now known, by a paper which had been circulated that morning, that the other party was at length satisfied, and that it meant to support the right hon. Gentleman's schemes; but why, he would ask, had not the right hon. Gentleman conceded something to the other side? It would have been much better if the right hon. Gentleman had taken the trouble to inform himself correctly of the grounds of the accusations which he had brought forward against the West-Indian interest, particularly as they involved matters of fact before bringing them forward. The right hon. Gentleman had said, that in the slave laws, evidence was not allowed to be given by the slave without producing the recommendation or permission of the master or overseer. The real fact was, that such a proposition had been made in the island of Antigua, but in no other colony. The right hon. Gentleman had next stated, that if a slave even innocently looked his master in the face he might be exposed to receive thirty-nine lashes without any reason being assigned for the severity. All those who were connected or acquainted with the West-India Colonies had declared that such was not the fact, and there had been evidence delivered upon the subject before the House of Lords, and upon oath, which fully proved that this was not the fact. The assertion bad been made by Mr. Wildman, but it had been contradicted by four reputable witnesses. He was willing to believe that Mr. Wildman must have been misinformed, because no Gentleman of his character and respectability would have knowingly and wilfully made such a misstatement. The right hon. Gentleman had said, that by the slave law, when punishment was unjustly inflicted on a negro, and he was ordered to be sold, the amount of the purchase-money was paid over to the tyrannical master. The right hon. Gentleman's account was, that if a slave looked at his master in the face and was to be flogged for it, or if for doing what in this country would not be considered any offence, he was ordered to receive thirty-nine stripes, and upon an interference the slave was to be sold, that then the money would go to the master, and act as a reward for his cruelty. This was the case that had been put to the country. But what were the real facts? If the slave were to be sold, the master, instead of receiving the purchase-money, would be fined in the sum of 100l. by way of punishment for his conduct. By such erroneous statements had the right hon. Gentleman prejudiced the country against the West-India interests. The right hon. Gentleman had stated that not a step had been taken by the colonies towards the extinction of colonial slavery; that, in 1823 Mr. Canning had suggested certain Resolutions; in 1824 an Order in Council was forwarded to the Crown Colonies containing certain regulations as to Sunday labour, and they were also forwarded to the Colonial Legislatures, with a recommendation that they should be adopted, and they were all rejected; that in 1826 Mr. Canning's Eight Bills were sent out, and they were rejected by all the islands except that of St. Nevis, which contained a population of less than 1,000 persons; that in the year 1828, when Sir George Murray was Colonial Secretary, two Orders in Council were sent out, and they were disregarded; that in 1830, further Orders in Council were sent out which related to a variety of subjects, all of which the right hon. Gentleman said, had been either rejected or disregarded. The right hon. Gentleman, in his sweeping charge against the West-India proprietors, had further said, that they had steadily avoided the appointment of a protector of slaves, who should have no interests opposed to their moral improvement. The whole thing he said, was upon the face of it a mockery of the wishes and feelings of the mother country. This was a specific charge which the right hon. Gentleman had made against a numerous body of individuals at the moment he was bringing forward a measure which would have the effect of destroying their whole property. First, the Resolutions of Mr. Canning were based in seven distinct provisions, which applied to Sunday markets, slave evidence, manumissions, regulation of punishments, rights of property, religious instruction, and the separation of slaves. First, with respect to Sunday markets, he would ask were they not almost all abolished? Again, as re- garded slave evidence, had nothing been done in this question by the Legislatures of our West-India islands in the year 1821? Had they not allowed the slave to appear n evidence against his master, a power which Lord Bathurst even, who was then Colonial Secretary, did not expect would have been granted? Was it not a great step in advance on the part of the Colonial Legislature to allow a slave who might have grievances to urge against his master, which he had long treasured up, to come forward and depose against his master? But, notwithstanding this, the right hon. Gentleman said nothing had been done upon the question of slave evidence, whereas the greatest Legislature in the West Indies had allowed the admission of slave evidence against the master and overseers of an estate. Again, would the right hon. Gentleman attempt to deny that efforts had been made by the white population to aid religious individuals in the instruction of the slaves? Did he mean to adhere to that allegation which had been made from year to year? Then, as to the separation of slave families, how many instances, he would ask, had they of any desire on the part of the West-India planters to separate individuals from their families? Had the right hon. Gentleman sufficient evidence to prove, that slaves were generally separated, for it was not upon isolated but general cases they were bound to legislate? He would suppose a case of the necessity of selling slaves who might not be attached to that part of a small property, perhaps, which was to be divided. Would it not be hard upon the individual proprietor if he were not allowed to translate or separate his slaves from one property to another? Again, if a debt were due by a person, and the sale of one slave would bring sufficient funds to liquidate that claim, would it not be hard to compel a party to dispose of a whole family to meet the claim? Would it not be reasonable to suppose that, as long as slavery continued in existence, you should not compel a man to part with the whole of his slave property, because he might not be able to keep it entire? The right hon. Gentleman had misstated the real state of the law with respect to slaves. He had said, that the Magistrates were interested in the support of the slave system. Look to what was the fact in this country. In all cases of dispute between masters and servants, the Legislature were the arbitrators between them. But why should the right hon. Gentleman seek to spread the impression in the West Indies, that the Magistrates there had no feeling for the welfare of the slaves? He believed, that the resident gentry in the West Indies were as likely to do justice to all parties as any Magistrates in this country would be. They required many proofs to the contrary, before the House should be induced to censure the conduct of the West-India planters. They wanted general allegations to be proved by general facts; that was the only way to substantiate such facts as those to which the right hon. Gentleman had adverted. With regard to the decrease of population, as applied to the slaves, that was a subject upon which a strong feeling existed. The right hon. Gentleman had said, that the increase of the production of sugar had kept pace with the decrease of the population of slaves. He knew that the hon. member for Weymouth argued, that the decrease of the population was in favour of his views; but did he not see that slaves were imported originally in the prime of life? And again, that the question of population, in reference to an in crease or decrease, must depend upon the number of females. Now, the proportion of males to the females generally imported, was as sixty-five to one hundred. That was the average through the whole period of importation; and could it be expected, that a society should increase in number while that disproportion existed. Had the right hon. Gentleman taken into his consideration the question of manumissions? The hon. Baronet proceeded to read an extract of the evidence of Mr. Burge before the Committee of the Lords, which went to show, that the number of manumissions which had occurred between the years 1817 and 1830, were no fewer than 8,442. This was the number actually recorded in the Secretary's Office; but it ought to be borne in the recollection of the House, that this number did not comprise the whole number of manumissions, because many occurred which were never put upon record. But it appeared, that, of 4,472 manumissions, which had occurred between 1818 and 1826, 2,131 were gratuitously made. Now, while the number of men in many cases greatly exceeded those of the women, it was quite clear that there could not be a gradual increase of the population. Had the hon. member for Weymouth taken into his consideration this immense number of manumissions? [Mr. Buxton said, he had.] Had the hon. Member taken into his consideration all the changes of abode which had occurred in respect to these manumissions? Taking; the two periods, from 1823 to 1826, and from 1826 to 1829, it appeared that the number of the slave population in Jamaica, in the former period, amounted to 334,393; in the latter period the number of the slaves was 322,431; the recorded manumissions in the interval were 1,383. That there had been a decrease in the population, he did not deny, in the case of Demerara and Jamaica, nor that there had been a corresponding increase of sugar; but would the right hon. Gentleman found his proposition upon the assumption, that, as a matter of course, the quantity of sugar produced must be in proportion to the decrease of slaves? Then, as to the duration of the lives of slaves, it had been said, that they were overworked; but he would call the attention of the House to what existed in this country. Was there nothing in the factories of this kingdom which caused death at an early age? Were not children here overworked? But this assertion of working the slaves to excess was only another attempt at an argument made use of against the West-India proprietors, with a view to add to that load of odium with which it was sought to overwhelm them. It appeared from the register of births and deaths in Demerara during 1823 and 1826, that the number of deaths was 7,634; while, between 1826 and 1829, the number of deaths was 5,834; and notwithstanding the whole number of the slaves had diminished, the births in the same periods were 4,634 and 4,659; and surely they must take the births and deaths as the basis of any reasonable calculation as to the population. Now, in the island of Barbadoes, he begged to state, the real increase of slaves from 1823 to 1826 was 688; in the second period, from 1826 to 1829, the increase was 532. The quantity of sugar in the first period was 326,000 cwts.; while, in the second period, it amounted to 299,000 cwts. The hon. Baronet next proceeded to read a letter which he had received from Mr. Shand, in which that Gentleman entered into an explanation respecting the expense of each slave to the planter, which had been stated by him, in his evidence, at 45,s. per annum; but that applied solely to the expense for European stores, whereas the expense was actually 3l. 10s., being, therefore, for a family of six persons, 21l. per annum. Mr. Shand made the contrast between this rate of expense, and the case of the weavers of Scotland, who were now earning only 1s. per day, the slave being always provided for: while, in addition to the other demands for every article for the support of life, the weaver had to pay at least 50s. a-year from his earnings. Now, suppose the weaver to be earning only at the rate of 15l. per year, whether he had a large family or not, would it not be discouraging to him to find, that instead of this the slave made 21l. per annum for the support of his family? He knew not, for his part, with what intention it could be done; but it was clear, that his Majesty's Government had been resolved that correct evidence upon oath should not go forth to the world. A Committee in the House of Lords was to have been moved for; but the Government had a communication with the West-India body, and glad as they were to entertain a negotiation upon the subject, at the suggestion of the Government, the proposed Committee in the House of Lords was delayed, and up to the present moment no Committee had been formed, and they had had no opportunity of examining the late Governor of Jamaica, the Earl of Belmore, upon this great subject. Now, there were two parties to this question; the one contending for an opinion which they entertained, whilst another contended for the preservation of their property; and the Government had thrown its weight into the hands of those who represented the opinion of the public. The Resolutions which had been proposed by his Majesty's Ministers were objectionable; and the West India body could scarcely act until they knew what the state of opinion was in the colonies, because they had been taken by surprise. The Colonial Legislatures indeed had been still more taken by surprise. Was it the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman, that the Act should go out to the colonies before they had had time to deliberate upon its merits? He had already stated, that the grand question of emancipation was acknowledged by the Colonial Legislature; it was right that the people of England should know, that the deputies acting on behalf of the West-India interest went to the full extent of admitting the principle of emancipation. It was right that those who contended for the West-India proprietors should know that the time for emancipation had arrived, though, for his own part, he was not one of those who believed slavery and Christianity to be incompatible with each other. He conceived, however, that emancipation must take place. The House had had two plans submitted to them, the one from the noble Lord who had lately filled the office of Under Secretary for the Colonies, and the other was the extemporaneous plan which had been promulgated by the right hon. Gentleman; and it remained to be considered how this latter plan would work, though it was enough for him to be told all the merchants and others who were particularly concerned—it was enough to know from them—that the plan was one which could not be successful, and which could not, indeed, be carried into effect. For his own part, he believed it to be a plan which never could satisfy the Anti-Slavery Society. He believed that, however they might at the present moment give in to the scheme. There was a fundamental principle which they entertained, which not being incorporated in this plan, rendered it impossible for them to give their assent to its adoption, and this was the point to which he alluded. These persons held, that no man could be considered the property of his fellow man. He would not enter into any discussion upon this opinion, but he knew that what the Anti-Slavery Society said was, that no man had an abstract right in the possession of a slave; and, therefore, the plan of the Government must be opposed to their great principle. They would have the anti-slavery question to consider again; yes, they would have some question left behind, and always brought forward at elections to exact pledges from candidates as a test or proof of their humanity. Though the plan of the right hon. Gentleman had been received with certain exceptions, it was one which would not only not succeed, but which was contrary to the opinion of those whom they were about to legislate for. Was it right, he would ask, that the Government should be at the beck of a party from whom such a letter as the one he was about to read could come (for he supposed similar letters had been addressed to many hon. Members)? This was a letter which had been addressed to a friend of his, who was a Member of that House, and emanated from his constituents. The letter was to the following effect:—'Dear Sir,—As we have reason to fear that the influence of the West-India interest has been used for some time past with his Majesty's Ministers, with a view to induce them to remodel their hill which is to be brought forward, our object in writing to you is to beg that you will wait on Lord Althorp to express a hope that the measure will go to the immediate and entire emancipation of the slaves in the West Indies, and to state that in the event of their conceding this point they may rely on your support; and, if the noble Lord does not do this, we beg you will be in the House and support the Amendments.' Why what a principle of dictation was here pursued, because the West-India interest were supposed to be in communication with his Majesty's Government on a subject upon the decision of which their property depended! No proposition, he supposed, was to be made which was not palatable to the member for Weymouth and his friends. He would not allude to the insurrection of last year in Jamaica; he would not dwell upon the general feeling which was entertained by the slaves that they were to be free, and that, therefore, they were justified in taking up arms; nor would he do more than remind the House that only a few months had elapsed since this unfortunate occurrence, and that insurrection had been only put down by the shedding of blood. He would call the recollection of the House to the condition of one of the finest islands in the world, which was now in the hands of barbarians; he would call the attention of the House to the state of St. Domingo, where emancipation was carried into effect by violence, where the greatest possible destruction of property occurred where horror upon horror succeeded, and where subsequently an Agrarian law was passed by which every individual acted for himself! The hon. Baronet proceeded to read an extract from an address sent by the Assembly of St. Domingo to the National Assembly in France in the year 1791, and stated his opinion that, however strong the language might be, it applied most completely to the case then under their consideration. This address predicted the general calamity; which must befal the country from the circumstances which were then occurring, and the great state of suffering to which France must, in many respects, be exposed. The situation of the negroes in Africa, he maintained, was changed for the better by their being employed as slaves in the West Indies. And he would call upon the House to bear in mind the vast interests which were involved in the adjustment of this question. There were not less than 1,000 ships of 300 tons each employed in this trade. There were 500 vessels employed in the northern coasting trade. Let them not allow so great and important an interest to be endangered. He had confidence in the educated part of the British Empire; they could think for themselves; and when the delusion was removed,—when the monstrous exaggerations were exposed—when those weeds of zealot luxuriance which had grown up and smothered prudence and judgment were mown down, and the educated people saw that they had been wickedly and grossly deceived—that in many instances designing men had worked upon their feelings and used their noble philanthropy, in order to render them the instruments of tyranny in the colonies, and of injury at home;—then they would do justice to the planters, and proceed to emancipate, without injury to persons whose title to justice was as good us that of the greatest landed nobleman in the United Kingdom. He was aware that he was addressing an assembly, many Members of which had deeply pledged themselves, though the system of pledges was ruinous-to the best interests of the country. Was not a pledge a bribe, far more injurious to the Empire at large, than bribery by money? What could be a more solemn mockery of justice, than the presence of a Judge upon the judgment seat, willing to pronounce a poor elector guilty of corruption for having accepted of a cup of beer, while he, himself, had been culpable of the great state crime of selling his right to vote according to his conscience—of consenting to sacrifice his fellow-subjects in the colonies, of being a party to trampling upon their acknowledged privileges, for the honour of sitting in that House. He could conceive no position more degrading. The oath taken at the Table had been cavilled at; and was casuistry to be all-powerful in the instance of a solemn affirmation before God, while judgment, and reason, and justice, were to bend before the half-muttered pledge at the hustings? What was the honourable value of a seat in Parliament—where was its transcendant distinction, and superiority—that they should wilfully and servilely render themselves the instruments of ruin, knowing, perhaps, that they did so—at all events, suspecting that they might? He would not move any resolution on that occasion, nor oppose the Motion for the Speaker leaving the Chair, because he neither wished to embarrass Ministers, nor check a fair investigation of the subject, but he could not resist the opportunity of expressing his sentiments, representing, as he did, a place deeply interested in this subject, and perhaps, only second in importance to the metropolis itself.

Mr. Stanley

felt called upon to offer some observations to the House in reply to the observatious of the boa. Baronet, but he submitted to the House whether it would not be more convenient to do so in Committee; and with that view he suggested the propriety of entering at once upon the Committee, and then continuing the discussion.

The Speaker left the Chair.

Mr. Bernal

read the first Resolution— "That it is the opinion of this Committee that immediate and effectual measures be taken for the entire abolition of slavery throughout the colonies, under such provisions for regulating the condition of the negroes as may combine their welfare with the interests of the proprietors."

Mr. Stanley

said, that although he had the honour of addressing the House on a recent occasion at considerable length in relation to this subject, and although he could very sincerely promise the Committee, that it was not his intention again to trespass on its patience to such an extent as was then necessary; still, after the speech just delivered by the hon. Baronet, he felt it to be his duty to take the earliest opportunity of offering an immediate explanation of his sentiments and a reply to the charges of the hon. Baronet, in doing which he should endeavour to preserve that course of observation by means of which he had flattered himself, up to the delivery of the hon. Baronet's speech, not only that he had avoided but that it was generally admitted he had refrained from all topics calculated to produce feelings of acrimony and irritation. He assured the Committee that he should, as far as possible, studiously abstain from dropping a single word likely to give offence to any individual or body of men. He had hoped, that he had been able to follow up that inoffensive line of conduct on a former occasion, and it was a subject of regret to him if he should be thought to have deviated from it in the manner alleged by the hon. Baronet. Never had any charge come with so bad a grace from an individual, followed up as it was by the extraordinary speech of the hon. Baronet, who prefaced his address by a declaration that he should avoid those topics of irritation which the hon. Baronet accused him of resorting to, and then introduced every available subject and topic calculated to rouse angry feelings. The question of Reform—the address of the Legislative Assembly of Jamaica to Lord Mulgrave—Lord Mulgrave's answer, and various other matters, were referred to by the hon. Baronet in a way the most likely to produce irritation. The threat which the hon. Baronet held out as to our being compelled to recall our Resolutions by foreign interference—the charge which he threw out against those hon. Members whom he was pleased to consider a pledged majority, because they declared upon the hustings, as they had done within those walls, their fixed determination to labour to the utmost for the abolition of slavery (his conviction of the necessity of which abolition the hon. Baronet now, for the first time, avowed)—these topics, treated as they had been by the hon. Baronet, were not calculated to produce a cool, dispassionate, and cautious consideration of the question. The hon. Baronet now declared, that he had no objection to an abolition of slavery, but it was an abolition of slavery, "in the abstract," and if they were to leave the question of slaves to the hon. Baronet and his friends, long indeed would it remain a question" in the abstract," without being carried to any practical conclusion. If he had commented on the conduct of any individuals, or any body of men, he did so to make out a case of necessity for the interference of Parliament, arising from non-performance and neglect on the part of the colonists with respect to the recommendations of the mother country—a non-performance which, as he maintained, constituted the ground for that House interfering in the internal and local regulations of the colonies. He still adhered to the principle which he before laid down, and which had not been controverted by the right hon. Baronet; and he again asserted that he knew of no limitation to the right of Parliament to interfere, save that which it might impose upon itself, unless it had voluntarily abdicated the privilege, which could not be asserted, nor even pretended in the present case. He admitted that the expediency of exercising that right was a different question, and he had before stated what he was now ready to repeat—namely, that except in a case of absolute necessity, the House was not justified in interfering with the Legislatures of the Chartered Colonies, but that necessity he had, as he hoped, successfully demonstrated on a former occasion. He was astonished at the boldness [and inconsistency of the hon. Baronet's assertion, when he declared that although slavery afforded no grounds for interference, the slave trade was a case for Parliament to interfere in. According to the hon. Baronet, neither chartered colonies nor Legislative assemblies could justly object to this latter interference (but he begged to inform the hon. Baronet that they did object to it), because, said the hon. Baronet, the slave trade was a national question, in which your bankers and monied men, your navigation, trade, and commerce were involved; but as to the abolition of slavery, that was a merely local question, bounded by the limits of each island in which the system prevailed, and therefore the empire at large had no right to meddle in it. Why, then, if this were a strictly local question, what was the meaning of all those petitions that had been presented to Parliament? He spoke not now of the petitions for the abolition of slavery, but asked whether those on the part of the West India body itself did not prove, that this also was a national question, otherwise why petition the Legislature? No Parliament, no Government, ought to resist, or could resist, the weight of public opinion on this subject. The hon. Baronet complained of what the hon. Baronet termed his (Mr. Stanley's) unfounded charges against the colonies. He had, undoubtedly, adduced certain charges for the purpose of showing, that there had been in the colonies a general, he might say an universal, neglect of the wishes of the national Legislature; but he thought that in bringing forward his charges he had carefully guarded himself against any general or sweeping assertion which might involve every colony in the burthen of each separate accusation. The hon. Baronet spoke of Sunday markets: on that point he (Mr. Stanley) stated that there had been a pretty general wish displayed by the colonial Legislatures to meet the views of the Parliament at home. He had further admitted, on a former evening, that the colonists had removed many impediments which formerly existed in the way of slave marriages; but, at the same time, he said, that there was not in the colonies a proper disposition to impress on the minds of the slaves a feeling of the sanctity of the marriage vow, or to discourage that promiscuous and licentious intercourse which, while it struck at the root of morality, tended to check population. The separation of families, and total disregard of family and social ties, were such as to convey no proper or becoming notions of the sacred relations that should be produced by marriage. Let the House sec to what extent the colonies had gone in furtherance of this object? In many of the colonies he found that the prohibition of separation was limited to cases of the sale of slaves under judicial process; ay, and there was even a further limitation than this—namely, that one member of a family might be sold to discharge a debt. Such a regulation at once must cut all the ties of marriage, of kindred, and of humanity. If one slave were sufficient to discharge a debt, he might be seized and sold; but, said the hon. Baronet, "Good God! only conceive the hardship of the contrary course! Suppose two sons are desirous of dividing an inheritance, are they to be prevented from separating their slaves? If one slave be sufficient to discharge a debt, was it just to compel the sale of two, three, or four slaves?" If this was to be the line of argument adopted—if reference was to be made only to the convenience of the master—how could the slave be taught to regard family ties? If the subject was to be treated merely as a question of convenience, where was the sanction of family ties? What became of the indissoluble bond of marriage? And of what validity was the law of kindred? He asked the hon. Baronet, how the colonial assemblies could be said to have conceded anything on this point, when all the most sacred ties were thus liable to be dissolved. "He must here admit, that he had unintentionally misstated the law of Jamaica with respect to excessive punishments, and certainly he had applied that to Jamaica which was true only of Dominica. He stated, that in a case of proved cruelty the slave was sold, and the proceeds of the sale paid over to the master, whereas it appeared that, as stated by the hon. Baronet, the price was paid to the vestry, and applied partly for the benefit of the slave. With regard to the thirty-nine lashes he, (Mr. Stanley) had quoted the words of a planter, thinking them not ill-calculated to convey the sentiments of some among the colonists; but undoubtedly by the law of Jamaica wanton punishment of a slave rendered the party offending liable to a penalty. However, the question arose as to how the law worked, and in what mariner the offence was to be proved? The slave might carry his complaint before a Magistrate, but must produce the evidence of another person in confirmation of it. If the Magistrate were satisfied as to the grounds of the complaint, he might direct the prosecution of the master; on the contrary, if he were not satisfied, he might order the flogging of the slave. The question, after all, resolved itself into the nature and operation of the law of evidence. He had stated, that slave evidence, under different colours and pretences, had been frittered down by various regulations. In various colonies the evidence of the slave was not received against his owner, against a white man, in a capital case. He must say, however, that in Grenada, Tobago, and, recently, in Antigua, the distinctions with respect to slave evidence had been abolished. But, according to the law of St. Kitt's, no slave witness could appear in any civil or criminal case with which the owner or overseer might be connected. The same rule prevailed in Nevis with regard to capital crimes. In Bermuda slave witnesses were disqualified in all cases, civil and criminal, wherein owners or any persons having control or interest in them were concerned. He should state, that they were only disqualified from appearing against the owners, &c. Slave evidence was good if it was in favour of the master, bad if it made against him. With respect to the celebrated law of slave evidence in Jamaica, on which the hon. Baronet laid so much stress, he (Mr. Stanley) stated that, although the evidence of a slave was good against the life of a black man, it was not good as affecting the property of a white man to the amount of Is. It was quite true, that in Jamaica there was no law excluding slave evidence in the case of an owner, but it was equally true, that the testimony of a slave was not received in civil, though it was taken in some criminal cases. Thus, as he had said, slave evidence, which was good against the life of a black man, was not valid with regard to the property of a white man. But what were the criminal cases in which slave testimony was received? They were not cases of cruel whippings, or withholding allowances; here the evidence of a slave was good for nothing unless strongly corroborated. He would not detain the Committee by recounting all the various restrictions on slave testimony. It was sufficient to observe, that in cases of atrocious punishment, the very fact of the prosecution being supported by slave evidence, prevented the complainant from being relieved to the extent to which he would otherwise be entitled. There existed no system of effectual protection for slaves—the hon. Baronet had not shown that there was in any colony a protector of slaves independent of the Colonial Legislature, and prepared to co-operate with the home government in taking care that the slave should not be ill-treated. Upon the restrictions relative to rights of property the hon. Baronet had not touched. He (Mr. Stanley) put it to the Committee to judge whether they could safely leave the extinction of slavery to the unassisted efforts of the Colonial Legislaturesr? The hon. Baronet complained, that whereas the West-India proprietors were desirous to obtain a full investigation, the Committee of last year had been allowed to cease at the request and intercession of Government. But he would declare, that it was left entirely to the discretion of the West-India body to determine whether or not they would seek a renewal of the West-India Committee and inquiry of last year in either House of Parliament. He did not wish to speak in the language of complaint, but he must say, it was impossible to negociate with a body such as the West-India deputation, which attended to hear proposals with authority to object to them, but without authority to offer any suggestion, or propose any modification in a plan which they rejected. He stated to the deputation distinctly, that it was the intention of Government to carry into effect safely, and if possible with their concurrence, a complete extinction of slavery, and that such extinction must form the basis of any plan on which Ministers would consent to act. The deputation declared, that they had no power or authority to propose any plan. Four of the number did, in their individual capacity, offer to his notice a plan to which he should not have alluded, but that he found it had been since given to the public. The proposal was, that a grant should be made to the colonists of 44,000,000l. sterling, that the colonial proprietors should enjoy all existing rights over the slaves for a period of one-and-forty years; and that that one-and-forty years was to be estimated from the time the 44,000,000l. could be paid out of the wages of the slaves, with four per cent interest, and one per cent sinking fund. He imagined that the House would not think him possessed of too much modesty because he did not venture to propose such a plan as that for its consideration. He felt it due to the Government to state, that it had not been insensible to those objections which had been raised to the Government plan by the West-India body, and which were three. The first was, that we in this country were legislating for the absolute and immediate freedom of the negroes, and that we were imposnig upon the Colonial Legislatures the odious and invidious task of apparently restricting that freedom, and of continuing for a time a portion of that slavery which we had declared should altogether cease. The second objection was, that without a temyorary adscription of the slaves to the soil, it would be impossible for the colonial proprietors to cultivate the soil through the agency of the negroes; and the third objection was, that the mode of cultivation proposed by the plan tended to give an additional dearness to the ground, and had also a tendency to be a tax upon provisions, and that so far it would be burthensome and oppressive even upon the negroes themselves. To those three objections of the West-India body his Majesty's Government, though debarred of all discussions with that body, though unassisted by any suggestions from it, had given that degree of attention which they deserved; and it would be seen by the changes which had been made in the measure of Government, that those objections had been duly considered. He thought it right thus far to vindicate his Majesty's Government against the charge which had been raised against it, of recklessly disregarding the feelings and wishes of the West-India body. His Majesty's Government was prepared to pay a due degree of deference to the wishes of that body, and was most anxiously desirous to receive their suggestions upon this subject; and, though the suggestions of that body, were not made to the Ministers, they had endeavoured to attend to those suggestions, as far as they had been indicated. He would now repeat what he had stated in the first instance, on bringing forward these Resolutions, that the Government was most anxious that a full consideration should be given to the rest of the plan, even though all its details might not be embodied in the Resolutions which the House was called upon to come to. There was one part of the plan of the Government which, both the West India body, and those who were anxious for the more immediate liberation of the slave—there was one part of the plan which both those parties had objected to. He had stated, when he bad the honour of proposing this plan to the House, that there were but two modes of repaying the amount which it was intended to advance to the West-India proprietors—namely that that repayment must either be borne by the produce of negro labour, or that it must entirely fall upon the revenue of this country, and to the latter alternative, he stated at the time, that it would be impossible for the Government, or Parliament, or the country to consent. His Majesty's Government, therefore, had proposed that, one-fourth of his time being at the disposal of the negro, the produce of his labour in that time, should go to liquidate the advance made by Government, and to remunerate the proprietor for his ultimate loss in the full emancipation of such negro, and they had further proposed that the proprietor should pay an interest for the money during the period that it continued advanced to them as a loan. There was another alternative, certainly—one, too, that had been suggested by the West-India body—namely, that the loss of this 15,000,000l. should be borne entirely by the resources of this country; but that was an alternative to which, as he had already said. Parliament would not, of course, be disposed to adopt. His Majesty's Ministers found that a great and well-founded objection had been urged by the West-India proprietors against this part of the plan, as making the nominal payment out of the wages of the slaves be considered as the repayment of this loan, while the real repayment of it would be made out of their (the West-India proprietors') own resources. They found, on the other hand, that, on the part of those who sought for the more immediate emancipation of the negro, there was a strong feeling that, during that portion of his time which was to be left at the disposal of the negro, he should be at liberty to enjoy the full benefit of the exercise of his own energies and resources. It was impossible, on the one hand and upon the other, not to feel the force of the objections thus made against this portion of the plan, and as both parties, however opposed in other respects, concurred in this manner in objecting to this part of the plan, if it should be found that the West-India body would not object to make such a provision as would compensate this country for at least a large portion of the interest of the sum thus advanced, and if they would not object to an increase in the taxation upon colonial produce, his Majesty's Ministers, under such circumstances, meant amongst other alterations to propose that the proprietors should be altogether relieved from any obligation to repay the money thus advanced to them, and that no deduction should be made from the wages of the negro for that purpose either. They proposed that during the negro's apprenticeship of twelve years this reward should be held out to him as an inducement to habits of persevering industry and exertion—namely, that by the payment of a certain amount of the produce of his labour during the time at his own disposal, the period of his apprenticeship might be redeemed; that was to say, that when he had, in this way, paid the sum agreed upon as compensation to his master, he should be discharged from the remaining portion of his twelve years' servitude, and amongst other advantages embraced in this alteration, it would afford to the negro an opportunity of proving himself a man of persevering and industrious habits. In that way his Majesty's Ministers proposed to submit to the House such a modification of the plan as did not introduce a material alteration into the Resolutions now before it. It appeared to him that it would be only dealing fairly with both parties interested in this question, and with the House, to state at once the course of proceeding with regard to which his Majesty's Ministers had made up their minds in consequence of the introduction of this alteration into the plan. They intended to propose that an additional amount of duty should be charged upon sugar. He was well aware that such a proposition was not free from difficulties and objections. He knew that the amount of duty on sugar at present was high, and that it would be well if it could possibly be somewhat reduced. But, believing as he did, that a trifling increase in the amount of duty would answer the purpose in question, he felt that his Majesty's Ministers were justified, looking back to a former precedent, when a reduction of the duty on sugar from 27s. to 24s. did not in any way affect or benefit the interests of the consumer, while it occasioned a considerable faliing-off ill the revenue, in assuming that the proposed increase would not affect the interests of the consumers in this country, while the revenue might be so increased as to compensate us for the loan advanced to the West-India proprietors. But if the effect of the raising of the duty should be a rise in the price of sugar in this country, it would be, of course, upon the consumers—that was to say, upon the people of this country—that the burthen would fall (for he did not contemplate, in consequence of such increase of duty, any material diminution in the consumption of sugar), and, in his opinion, it ought to be borne by them; and, he believed, it would be cheerfully borne by them, especially when they considered the great benefit and convenience that would be reaped from getting rid of the objection which had been made to this portion of the plan. He had seized the first opportunity to state this important modification to the Committee, in order that the attention of parliament might be directed to it. He did not state it for the purpose of calling now for the judgment of the House upon it, as in passing the Resolution now before it, the House was not called upon to express any opinion with regard to such a modification of the original plan. He hoped and trusted that they would have the aid and concurrence of the local legislatures, in providing for the religious and moral education of the negro population to be emancipated." They were greatly mistaken who supposed that Ministers or Parliament,' without any reference to the feelings of the Colonial Legislatures, were anxious to precipitate this measure. It was in consequence of the vain efforts which had been made to induce the Colonial Legislatures to act in accordance with the expressed wishes of Parliament and the country on the subject, that they felt bound to legislate upon the great leading principles embraced in the measure, leaving the local details which could not be filled up here to be filled up by the different local legislatures. Without, then, refusing to the local legislatures the settlement of that which properly belonged to them, when we had forced the great leading principles upon them, their last hope of preventing the freedom of the negroes would be removed; and after the excitement occasioned by this question had passed away, he hoped and trusted that they would anxiously join with us in making those local regulations that were necessary for carrying the wishes of Parliament into effect. To them, there-fore, was left the filling up hereafter of the details of that great outline which we now feel it our duty to mark out for them at once, and for ever.

Colonel Leith Hay

said, it must be admitted that this was a most important question, leading in its results to consequences more serious to the colonies than any measure which had been brought forward since the dispute with the American colonies; and, he certainly should not have trespassed upon the attention of the House, had he not been able to speak from personal observation of the condition of the negroes in the Leeward Islands. From his personal knowledge, he was prepared to say, that the plan of his Majesty's Ministers could not be carried into effect. The negro population of the British slave colonies were not yet prepared for the gift of freedom. They were at present an indolent and idle race, and it could not be expected that they would work unless there existed some means of making them. He condemned that part of the plan which provided for the enrolment of the slaves as apprenticed labourers. This permission would be acted upon by the able-bodied slaves only, leaving the children, the aged, and the infirm, amounting to two-thirds of the whole, to remain a burthen upon the estates. The hon. Member proceeded to read the evidence of several witnesses given before the West-India Committee for the purpose of showing, that in the opinion of impartial witnesses, of persons not connected with parties, immediate emancipation was altogether impracticable, reference being had either to the safety of the colonies or the welfare of the slaves. As to the condition of the slaves much evidence had been taken; and Admiral Sir Charles Rowley declared that, if born to a state of absolute labour, he would rather he a black man in Jamaica than a white labourer in England, it being his opinion, that in the former case he should sooner be his own master. There was a great deal of evidence also to show, that the habits of the negro had not improved after emancipation in those places where the experiment had been tried. The hon. Member referred in particular to the state of St. Domingo, and to the evidence of MR. Mackenzie, of Mr. Simpson, and Mr. Living. He (Colonel Hay) agreed with the hon. member for Weymouth upon the abstract principle of emancipation; but he could not go along with him in a measure which, he thought, was destined to plunge the colonies into confusion, and bring them to destruction. He had given no pledge at the hustings on this subject, but had always refused to do so. He was, therefore, free to say, according to the dictates of his conscience, that he could not view the Government plan as one that was calculated to promote the internal or external prosperity of the colonies, to advance the moral improvement of the slave, or to place him in a state of society in which there was any prospect of his going on temperately and dispassionately for his own and for the general welfare of the community. He happened to be better acquainted with Barbadoes than the other slave colonies of this country. In that colony, there were 5,000 proprietors, owning in all 80,000 slaves. Of these 5,000 proprietors not more than 1,500 possessed landed property, leaving 3,500 who possessed amongst them 33,000 slaves. He left it to the House to consider what would be the condition of those 3,500 slave-owners under the provisions of the plan now brought forward by Government. Of what avail would the proposed advance of 15,000,000l. upon colonial property be to them? They had nothing to offer as security for a loan, and yet their property was about to be deteriorated, if not entirely sacrificed. He believed that the proprietors of slaves acted, generally speaking, with great kindness and consideration towards them. There were no doubt individual cases of a contrary conduct; but a slur ought not to be thrown upon the conscientious on that account. Mildness and kind treatment in the master, however did not always ensure good conduct in the slave. It was notorious that the insurrection of the year 1816 in Barbadoes began upon the estate of a planter, who was known throughout the island as the best master, the kindest and most affectionate in his treatment of his slaves in the colony. There was another topic which had arisen on a former occasion to which he also felt it necessary to advert. It had been stated that all instruction had been withheld, and that the planters were not only jealous of the clergy, but were adverse to anything like a system of slave education. The fact, however, really was, that in Barbadoes, so long ago as the period of the administration of Lord Combermere in that island, public schools had been established in which the negro, the coloured, and the white children were instructed together. Those schools, however, having been demolished during the hurricanes which prevailed in the year 1831, before even the re-erection of private buildings was commenced, subscriptions for rebuilding the schools were set on foot in the island, and the gallant officer, the then Governor, Sir James Lyon, himself subscribed 500l., and they were found again in full operation by the Earl of Mulgrave when on his way to the government of Jamaica. With such facts as these, he was entitled to deny the allegation that there existed in the colonies that want of provision for the education and instruction of the slave population which had been so much relied on as manifesting a disinclination in the colonists to improve the condition of the slaves. He had stated thus much upon a firm conviction of his own mind arising from what he had himself witnessed—a conviction not prompted by any selfish motive, for, being unconnected with the colonies, he had no interests to serve beyond what he conceived to be the whole community—interests deeply involved in the result of this great and important question, which required the most calm and deliberate consideration, lest should be inflicted the most severe colonial blow that was ever felt in this country.

Mr. Patrick Stewart

said, he felt himself placed in a very unpleasant dilemma upon the question then before the House. The duty which he owed to that House and to the colonies called upon him to declare un reservedly his opinion, although in giving that opinion he might wound the feelings of friends, and of individuals for whom he entertained the highest personal respect. At the outset he must express his regret at the tone of the speech with which his right hon. friend (Mr. Stanley) had ushered in the question of Emancipation. With great reluctance, indeed, did he come forward publicly to cast any blame upon his right hon. friend, of whose character and talents he had the highest opinion. If, however, his right hon. friend had dealt with this important subject in a milder tone, acting more as a mediator than as a partisan, he would have done great good, instead of doing as he feared his right hon. friend had done, great and irreparable mischief. It was, he confessed, inexplicable to him, how, after the severe trials to which the planters had latterly been subjected, his right hon. friend could have made up his mind to come forward and deliberately bear with so heavy a hand upon them, as he had done in his late speech, identifying himself with a party whose irresponsible precipitancy he had always considered it was the duty of the Colonial Secretary to modify and temper. He was reluctant to speak thus, but the fearful measure of his right hon. friend having gone out to the Colonies, with the fearful speech with which he introduced it, he felt that he should abandon his duty as a Member of that House if he did not sacrifice all considerations of friendship, and speak out his unqualified disapprobation both of the measure and of the speech of his right hon. friend. If the right hon. Gentleman doubted the tendency of his able and most ingenious speech in other respects, he would refer him to the hon. member for Weymouth, and the hon. and learned member for the Tower Hamlets, who knew, and indeed represented, the feelings of the party to whom he alluded. He had thought it had ever been an axiom in the Colonial-office, that in all matters for the amelioration of the condition of the slaves, the colonial Legislatures must be made use of, and that, without their consent, no benefit could be achieved from any proposition, but, on the contrary, evil must ensue. That axiom had not, in the present instance, been adhered to. The right hon. Gentleman had, in the course of his opening speech, quoted the language of Mr. Canning at a period when Mr. Canning was not a Minister. If the right hon. Gentleman chose to adopt that distinguished individual as a guide, he should take him in the character of a Minister. 'If (said Mr. Canning, in 1824) the condition of the slave is to be improved, that improvement must be introduced through the medium of his master. The masters are instruments, through whom and by whom you must act upon the slave population; and if, by any proceedings of ours, we shall unhappily place between the slave and his master a barrier of insurmountable hostility, we shall at once put an end to the best chance of Emancipation, or even of Amendment, instead of diffusing gradually over those dark regions a pure and salutary light, we may, at once kindle a flame, only to be quenched in blood.'* Mr. Huskisson bad also given as his opinion, that any attempt to carry into effect improvement other than through the intervention of the masters would end in ruin to the colonies, without benefiting the slave population. Such were the conclusions at which, on this important topic, those two great masters of practical legislation arrived. And having been so bold as thus to rebuke the spirit in which his right hon. friend had brought forward his Resolutions, he must also endeavour to refute some of his right hon. friend's statements. The system of slavery was condemned on all sides: he therefore, had not to defend that; but he would put it to the House and the Government whether, instead of entering, as had been the case, upon the horrors of that condemned system, it would not have been better to have avoided such a detail; for, in fact, the only difference of opinion which now prevailed was as to the most safe, satisfactory, and honest mode of abolishing slavery. Notwithstanding the attacks which had been made upon the colonists * Hansard (new series) x. p. 1109. they had still a good name, which could not be "filched" from them. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Stanley) had, in allusion to the communication between the then Colonial Secretary (Earl Bathurst) and the Crown colonics in 1823, said, that the Government Resolutions had been then disdainfully rejected by the colonists. This was a charge of a grievous nature and most unfair. If the right hon. Gentleman had been longer in his office, he would never have ventured upon so unfounded and unjust a charge; for had he consulted the documents contained in the Colonial-office itself—namely, the despatches of Mr. Hukisson and other Ministers, he would have found that they expressed the gracious admiration of the King and Government of the measures adopted by the colonists for the amelioration and improvement of the condition of the slaves. He should then be able to convict his right hon. friend of inaccuracy and injustice by documents taken from his own office. The hon. Gentleman then proceeded to read portions of various despatches from the Government at home to the colonial Legislatures, chiefly during the years 1826 and 1827, and directed to St. Kitts, Nevis, Dominica, and other islands, in which the proceedings of the latter were highly recommended, and which he said were a full answer to all the calumnies of the right hon. Secretary. The island of Demerara had been particularly pointed out as a place where cruelty to slaves was even more notorious than at any other island. And the right hon. Secretary had painted in strong colours the cruelty of separating families by sale as one of the enormities there practised. But by a law of Demernra passed in 1825, the separation of families was prohibited, with an exception suggested by Lord Bathurst himself, that young persons of the age of sixteen years might be sold separately. The hon. Member quoted the declaration of the Deputy First Marshal of Demerara, to the effect, that it had never been the custom there to separate families, although in several instances members of a family had objected to being sold to the same planter with each other. Another calumny was, that the planters had not provided for the religious instruction of the slaves. He denied this imputation. In Demerara the Court of policy passed, on the 7th of September, 1825, "An Ordinance for the religions Instruction of Slaves." This Act provided for the appointment of a protector and deputy-protector of slaves—it ap- pointed an advocate to defend the slave and to prosecute on his behalf—prohibited slaves from being worked between sunset on Saturday and sunrise on Monday—directed Sunday markets to be closed after eleven o'clock A.M.—abolished the whip as a badge of authority or stimulus to labour in the field—restricted punishment of male slaves to twenty-five stripes, the punishment to be inflicted in the presence of witnesses under a penalty of 900 guilders—prohibited the Hogging of female slaves under a penalty of 1,400 guilders, equal to 100l. sterling—required a record of all punishments to be kept—authorized the solemnization of the marriage of slaves—restricted the hours of labour in the field from six o'clock in the morning to six o'clock in the evening, out of which time two hours were to be allowed for rest and refreshment—it forbade the separation of husbands and wives, or their children under sixteen years of age—recognized the usage of the colony, and established the right of the slave to hold and dispose of property, and instituted savings' banks under the direction of protector, and it rendered a person twice convicted under this Act liable to double penalties, and not to be allowed to manage slaves after; and, if a proprietor, curators, were to be appointed to his estate to manage the same. This was a spontaneous act of the Court of Policy, passed under the recommendation of Lord Bathurst, then Secretary of State for the Colonies, and before the issuing of any Order in Council for the regulation of slaves in that colony; and he asked the House whether that did not afford a complete contradiction to the assertion made here—that nothing had been done in furtherance of the resolutions of Parliament of 1823; and likewise to that assertion made in another place—that there had been no improvement in the slaves' condition for the last forty years; a remark which be should be unwilling to attribute to anything else than an inconceivable state of ignorance. It might, perhaps, be con tended that this enactment had not been efficient—that it bad been like other laws passed in the colonies, without an executory principle, but he would show that this was not the case; and he must maintain that if the law, after having been duly passed and promulgated, had been suffered to lie dormant, the blame would not attach to the colonists, but to the Government authorities whose duty it was to see that it was carried into effect. It had also, been said, that nothing had been done for the religious in- struction of the slaves. In answer to that he would state, that there were at present, belonging to the Established church of England, seven rectors and one curate; there were two Roman Catholic Priests, twelve catechists, five ministers of the Scotch Church, and two of the Church of Holland. For the support of the church there, and for the dissemination of education the cost yearly was 135,400 guilders, or 10,000l. and since the year 1824, a very large additional sum amounting to 200,725 guilders had been employed in building churches, besides which many individuals had voluntarily contributed to the same object. All these expenses had been borne solely by the inhabitants, by a rate levied by the Court of Policy. He was perfectly astonished, therefore, to hear the right hon. Secretary's charges. With respect to the admissibility of slave evidence, the right hon. Gentleman had himself read a sort of recantation, but he (Mr. Stewart) knew that only in two islands any peculiarity in this respect now existed. In Demerara slave testimony had been admitted from time immemorial. In fact he had previously considered that it was the A B C of Colonial Information to know that the evidence of slaves was admissible in all the colonies; yet here came forward the right hon. Secretary, and denied a fact which was notorious. He should give several instances where convictions had been obtained solely on slave evidence—some of them capital. For example, in 1824 Peter Beeke, an old inhabitant, had been Convicted and executed for murder on the evidence of his own slave; and so lately as the 16th of March, 1831, a person, of the name of Matthew Rush, had been fined 1,000 guilders for an infringement of a colonial act on slave evidence only. Other cases might be quoted, but there were sufficient to show how little the right hon. Gen tleman knew either of the law itself or of the manner in which it was executed. He would next proceed to notice an important point which bore immediately and directly on the character of the planters. The right hon. Secretary had stated, that Demerara afforded a striking proof of the destruction of human life by the cultivation of sugar, that as its cultivation had increased from 336 cwts. in 1823, to 806,120 cwts. in 1829, the number of slaves had diminished from 72,722 to 67,741, and the right hon. Gentleman immediately inferred that the increased cultivation of sugar had caused the diminution in the number of negroes. The fact, however, was, that though the produce of sugar had increased the produce of coffee and cotton had decreased. To confirm the statement the hon. Member read the following returns:— By returns on oath given in to the Court of Policy for the purpose of taxation, the quantity of produce made during the periods mentioned, was in the first (1823, 1824, and 1825)—

231 478, 633 lbs., (Dutch weight) of Sugar
17,779,473 lbs., (Dutch weight) of Coffee
6,808,913 lbs., (Dutch weight) of Cotton
In the second (1826, 1827, 1828),
239,556,976 lbs., (Dutch weight) of Sugar
13,897,083 lbs. (Dutch weight) of Coffee
7,389,373 lbs., (Dutch weight) of Cotton
In the third (1829, 1830, and 1831),
262,709,559 lbs., (Dutch weight) of Sugar
7,059,431 lbs. (Dutch weight) of Coffee
2,252,557 lbs. (Dutch weight) of Cotton

The decrease of coffee and cotton was considerably greater than the increase of sugar, comparing the third period (1829, 1830, and 1331) with the first (1823, 1824, and 1825).

Slaves employed formerly in the cultivation of coffee and cotton, have latterly been employed in the cultivation of the cane.

By the change from coffee and cotton to sugar upwards of 8,000 acres have been thrown out of cultivation.

Decrease of Coffee 10,720,042 lbs., to produce which in three years, land must be cultivated to the extent of about 8,000
Decrease of Cotton 4,556,356 lbs., to produce which in three years, land must be cultivated to the extent of about 6,000
Increase of Sugar 49,230,926 lbs., to produce which in three years, land must be cultivated to the extent of about 6,000
acres of land, consequently, thrown out of cultivation, which goes to prove that the labour of the negro, in late years, has not been greater than it was in former years."

The increase in the quantity of sugar then was accounted for without supposing that greater toils had imposed on the negroes or that the avarice of the masters had sacrificed to a little increase of profit the lives of their slaves. There had been, besides, improvements effected in the machinery for producing sugar in these islands, as well as in the manufactures here, and consequently much more sugar had been produced than heretofore by an equal quantity of labour. The right hon. Secretary had also averred, that the decrease in the number of slaves was principally in those between the ages of thirty and forty while there had been an increase in the number of the very old thus inferring that it was the excessive labour of cultivating sugar which killed the slaves. But was that the fact? By the Registration of 1829, it appeared that in a population of 71,382 there were—

12,788 under 10 years of age 1,063, or 8 999/3197
13,677 between 10 and 20 408, or 2 13446/13677
8,792 between 20 and 30 392, or 4 504/1099
15,524 between 30 and 40 1,209, or 7 3058/3881
14,623 between 40 and 50 1,630, or 11 2147/14623
6,978 upwards of 50, 1,020, or 17 287/2989
71,382 5,724
Showing, that the greatest mortality occurred between the ages of 40 and 50, and upwards, and in that part of the population under 10 years of age. Of those upwards of 50 years of age, 7 per cent, died in three years; between 40 and 50 years of age, 11 per cent.: under 10 years of age, 8 per cent, in three years; and from people of these respective ages it was admitted that little labour is required. The right hon. Secretary asserted, that the greater portion of the deaths had taken place in that part of the population between the ages of 30 and 40; to use his own words," the time at which labour was most severe." But from the same Return the deaths between '10 and 40 were 7 per cent.; between 29 and 30, 4 per cent.; between 10 and 20, 2 per cent.; and the whole of this calculation was made from unquestionable authority, the Slave Registrar's Return. He had thus proved, that the greatest mortality had taken place in that portion of the population which was at a period of life when the least labour was required; and also, that the least mortality had occurred at the periods when the most labour might naturally be expected from man—and thus he had proved, that the statements of his right hon. friend were incorrect, and calculated to mislead the judgment of this House, and the country at large, and to do irreparable injury to those connected with that valuable colony. It appeared that there was a falling-off in the total population of Demerara, and Essequibo—comparing the registration list of the 31st of May, 1832, with that of the 31st of May, 1829—of 2,926. When an inquiry however was instituted into the comparative progress of the population of a country, with a view to form a correct judgment, it was essential to ascertain, in the first instance, as was mentioned by the hon. Baronet opposite, what was the state and condition of that population at the period, of the comparison in respect of the ages at which the various portions, which constitute the mass, had attained. Suppose a society so constituted, or a mass of population so artificially aggregated together, that, consisting of 100,000 individuals, one half of them, at a given period, exceeded fifty years of age. It must be self-evident that with a population of superannuated elements, such a society could not, by what Gibbon calls "the milder, but more tedious method of propagation," do otherwise than materially fall off for a great number of years; and, in fact, it must continue to decline till the population arrived at that point at which its different portions at the respective ages became arranged in their natural order. That observation applied to the case of Demerara. The average age of the whole population was upwards of thirty-four years; and it was of importance to observe, that; the ages of all slaves, and more particularly of Africans, grown up, were necessarily put down conjecturally in the first registry, to which all the succeeding ones conformed. The negroes themselves, could throw no light on their own age, as they are notoriously defective in their notions of time, and careless in observing the order and succession of events; and it was indisputable that, in general, the ages assigned were below the real ones. Forming, as the slave did, in most cases, the chief part of the planters' property, they were naturally anxious, in putting formally on record a description of it, not to under-rate its value, as many, if not all of them must contemplate an eventual sale or mortgage of this property; and thus it was likely, that the slaves, then exceeding twenty-five to thirty years, had in general their ages understated by four to five years. This would tend to increase the proportion of individuals at an advanced age, at the initial period; add to that the great original disparity of the sexes—and to that again the important circumstance, that nearly 55 per cent. or upwards of one-half of the population of 1817, were Africans imported from a different country across the Atlantic, and placed in new circumstances as to climate, &c.; and when all that was considered, it would appear wonderful that the aggregate decrease had not been more. It was also important to remark, that the Africans were deeply and hereditarily infected with a variety of diseases peculiar to their race and country, and which were transmitted to their Creole progeny, and no doubt it will take a length of time to eradicate them finally from their descendants. Of these the yaws and the leprosy might be mentioned as the principal; but there were other African diseases of which the names even were not known to European physicians. For these reasons, in order to form any just conclusion, it was necessary to look at the Creole population. The question then is—what result did that population exhibit? The Creole population, in 1826, was 40,892, of which 21,032 were females; from that period it might be assumed that all children born were the offspring of Creole mothers.
The number of Births from 1826 to 1829, was 4, 679 2754
Deaths of Creoles for the same period 1, 925
Births from 1829 to 1832 4,090 924
Deaths of Creoles for the same period 3,166
Increase. 3678
in six years on a population of 40,892, or near 9 per cent., which excluded manumission. This period was taken, because it was the earliest at which the Creole births could be fairly considered as the offspring of Creole mothers. In 1817 the number of African females registered was 17,893; the importation from Africa having ceased in 1807, most of the survivors in 1826 must have been past child-bearing. He had troubled the House with these particulars in order to prove, that as regarded the increase among the negroes, there were many circumstances which affected the calculations, and that it was not in nature that such increase should be at all equal to that of other masses of population. He would next make a few observations with respect to the decrease, or mortality, of the colonial labourers. The planters of Demerara had been charged with over-working their slaves, and this had been advanced against them as a principal cause of the decrease in the population of that colony; but nothing could be more unjust or unfounded. If the negro were over-worked, his life would be shortened. Now he would recur once more to the return of the deaths at Demerara, and of the age at which they took place, and would compare them with a like number of deaths in different places in this country. This comparison would enable the House to arrive at a correct judgment, and for this purpose he referred to the Appendix to the Report of the Committee of the House of Commons on the Factory Bill, wherein it appeared that, in a number of 10,000 deaths in a healthy county (Rutland) in England, under 20 years of age 3,756, under 40 years of age, 5,031 died; lived to 40 years and upwards, 4,969; in this Metropolis, under 20 years of age, 4,580 died; under 40 years of age, 6,111 died: lived to 40 years and upwards, 3,889 in the town of Preston, under 20 years of age,6083 died; under 40 years of age, 7,462 died; lived to 40 years and upwards, 2,538; in the town of Leeds, under 20 years of age, 6,313 died; under 40 years of age, 7,741 died; lived to 40 years and upwards, 2,559 in the town of Bolton, under 20 years of age, 6,113 died; under 40 years of age, 7,459 died; lived to 40 years and upwards, 2,541. Now, in De-merara, it appeared by the last Registration, that the deaths during the triennial period were 7,016—of whom died under 20 years of age, 1,929; died under 40 years of age, 3,359; and 3,657 lived to upwards of 10 years of age. Supposing then the number of deaths to have been 10,000, instead of 7,016, the result would be—died under 20 years of age, 2,749; died under 40 years of age, 4,788; and lived to 40 and upwards, 5,212; being 243 in favour of the duration of life in the Colony of Demerara, as compared with the healthy county of Rutland, and an enormous difference in favour of the colony as compared with the towns before mentioned. After this plain statement, it would be difficult to maintain, hat mortality in the Colony was to be ascribed to excessive labour. There was another point of view in which he desired to place this interesting subject—he meant the average mortality of Demerara as compared to other places. The average range of mortality in Demerara was as 1 in 37, while it was 1 in 60 in England and Wales, in Sweden 1 in 48, in Nice 1 in 31, 1 in 32 in Paris; 1 in 25 in Rome; 1 in 24 in Amsterdam; in Vienna 1 in 221½ showing that the average mortality in Demerara was less than the average mortality in the principal cities and countries of Europe. Yet Demerara had been described as that place where the planters were most reckless of human life, and most destitute of humane feeling. It should be further remarked, that the return, from Demerara included only the slave or working population; while the return from the European cities embraced high and low, those who lived in luxurious ease, and those who had to toil, and were exposed to all the accidents of toil for their scanty living. These observations, which applied strictly only to Demerara, might be extended to all the other colonies. It proved that the statement which the right hon. Gentleman had made the other evening as to the population of the colonies was neither fair nor just. He would not make any lengthened observations on the scheme of the Government, altered as that had been, but there were two tests by which that and all other schemes must be tried. How would it affect the slaves, and how would it affect the planters? He did not think it would be either humane towards the negroes, or honest to the proprietors. By reducing and destroying the planters, he believed that, in its effects, it would be both inhuman and dishonest. He did not object to the first Resolution; it was the lineal descendant of the Resolutions of 1823. The plan, however, neither consulted the welfare of the slave nor the interest of the proprietors. If the House could accomplish with safety the transition from slavery to free labour, it would confer the greatest possible boon on the West-Indian proprietors. They desired it to a man but the negro would receive no immediate benefit from this plan. The apprenticeship, at the end of twelve years, would still leave him a dead weight on the planters; and there was a party in England which would allow them to have no quiet while a slave or the descendant of a slave remained alive. He would be, at the end of his apprenticeship, a burthen on the property, and the proprietor would be even then the victim of the outcry against slavery. It was expected by those who proposed the plan, that the slave would have motives for toil in the artificial excitements of civilization; but those who calculated thus knew nothing of the slaves. The negro could not comprehend the motives of which civilized man admitted the force and admired the operation. Under one of those wise documents which had formerly been sent to the colonies, the slaves had been made assessors, but that title had no charms for them. They did not comprehend that gratification which being addressed by the name of a Juryman was felt by us, and formed a motive for overlooking the trouble of the office. The property of the masters would be immediately injured by the scheme. They would have, as at present, all the expense of the total outlay, with the additional cost of a scale of wages. The planters would not have one benefit from the scheme, except the loan, which amounted to nothing. It had been calculated on wrong data. He knew that the Board of Trade had returned 1,500,000l. as the income of the colonies, but that included only the absentee income. The whole income ought to be included—the whole exports to all other parts of the world, as well as to Great Britain; and that would give a very different result. He knew it was unpopular to say, that the planters had a right of property in their slaves; lint he asked, what species of property could be considered safe in this country, if their property in slaves, which had been secured by Acts of Parliament since the days of Elizabeth, was not to be considered legal and secure property? He could assure the House, if that property were not safe, it would be time for every man to look at home. He was sure, if they violated the planters' property, it would cause a great convulsion throughout property in this country. If public faith and public law were to be observed, the property of the planters was as secure as the property of any other persons. The hon. Member referred to an opinion of Lord Stowell's, delivered in 1827, to show that emancipation, to be just, must be at the expense of both parties; while the people of England seemed to think it ought to be cheap to them, and wholly at the expense of the colonists. Lord Stowell expressly stated, that slavery was the crime of the whole country, and not of the planters. The hon. Member quoted an Act for explaining an Act of Anne, for reducing the sale of interest, which expressly secured all the mortgages in the colonies and plantations. He also quoted the 13th Geo. 3rd, cap. 14, for encouraging foreigners to invest their money in our colonies, which, under that Act, they had done, to show that the Legislature had expressly recognized the property in slaves, and had pledged its faith to support that property. As foreigners had been encouraged by that Act to invest their property in our colonies, there ought to be a Congress before the question could be settled. He admitted, that this species of property was repuguant—was revolting; he was willing to put an end to it: he even implored the House to wipe out that stain, but to do it in a way that became a people of high honour and high character. The crime was national—let the expiation be national. He asked to be delivered from slavery, but let it not be done at the destruction of property. If that was not an awful subject, he knew of none on this side the grave which deserved the name. He thought the words of Burke, in 1775, were applicalble now. Burke said—'Slaves as these unfortunate black people are, and dull as all men are from slavery, must they not a little suspect the offer of freedom from that very nation which has sold them to their present masters?—From that nation, one of whose causes of quarrel with those masters, is their refusal to deal any more in that inhuman traffic? An offer of freedom from England would come rather oddly, shipped to them in an African vessel, which is refused an entry into the ports of Virginia or Carolina, with a cargo of 300 Angola negroes. It would be curious to see the Guinea Captain attempting at the same instant to publish his proclamation of liberty, and to advertise his sale of slaves.' He repeated, then, that it was an awful subject, and he called on them to look at St. Domingo, and take warning. In 1791, that was a flourishing industrious island; now, it was one wide scene of licentiousness, idleness, and poverty. In 1791 the crops were valued at 6,000,000l. sterling; in 1825, when the population had increased by 400,000, the value of the crops was not more than 420,000l. At the same time, the interest of money was seventy-five per cent., and the best land in the island might be had at two and a-half years' purchase. He again conjured them to take warning by the example of St. Domingo. All that devastation had been brought about, in spite of the great talents of Toussaint L'Ouverture, of which even Bonaparte was jealous; and in spite of all the vast energy of Christophe, aided by the advice and assistance of liberal men, both in Europe and America, who had all struggled, but struggled in vain, to reduce the emancipated slaves to obedience to the laws, and to establish order. The hon. Member next referred to Venezuela, where, he said, there were only five or six sugar plantations, and they were all worked by slave labour. He contended, that this showed that the statements of the right hon. Gentleman were not correct. He asserted, that all the planters, and all the agents of the colonies, and all the persons connected with the colonies, who were now gathered in London, looking eagerly for the settlement of this question, were willing to lend their assistance to abolish slavery with safety to themselves. He confessed himself a bad advocate of their cause—quite unequal to contend with the right hon. Gentleman, and those great men who had been advocating the cause of the slaves for years. He could not plume himself, that any shaft of his would rise so high as theirs, but he hoped the House would at least give him credit for being sincerely in favour of the cause he was so inadequately defending. Both as the Representative of an enlightened constituency, and as the servant of Him, all whose services were pleasant, being "perfect free dom," he was hound to do his duty; and, though he knew the course he was pursuing was at present unpopular, to shrink from the performance of his task would be unworthy of a man and a Christian.

Mr. Powell Buxton

admitted the sincerity, and the great power and good humour with which his hon. friend, who had just sat down, had so ably advocated the cause of the West Indians. The hon. Member had chiefly replied to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, the Secretary of State, and he was sorry to say, that with the latter part of that speech be did not agree. But he must call on the House to look at facts which were uncontradicted, and defied contradiction. He could not but advert with gratification to the speeches both of the right hon. Gentleman and the noble Lord (Howick); for in them he found complete justification of all the opinions he bad ever entertained, and of the course he had pursued. His motives for bringing forward the subject had been impugned; he had been assailed by all kinds of vituperative epithets; and should he be again assailed by them, be would point to the speeches of the noble Lord and the right hon. Gentleman as a complete justification. Now no longer would the advocates of slavery be stigmatized by the grossest epithets which could be extracted from the vocabulary of abuse. The noble Lord (Howick) had afforded the most substantial proof of the sincerity of his opinions on the subject of slavery by his resignation of office—opinions which it bad been stated had been first implanted in his mind by him (Mr. Buxton). He could not, however, lay claim to this honour, though perhaps he might have had reason to be proud of so apt and able a pupil, for never had he had the honour of one moment's conference with that noble Lord before he brought forward the proposition which had redounded so much to his credit. The right hon. Gentleman also was a convert; but a convert to facts, and not to any influence. His hon. friend bad dwelt much on the state of the population of the West Indies; he would not answer that part of his hon. friend's statement, because he knew it was impossible to carry a long array of figures in the head, and be bad already forgotten those of his hon. friend. When he had been about to make such a statement, be had submitted it a week before making it to the House, to his hon. friend; and his hon. friend should have answered then if he could. His hon. friend bad not, on this occasion, conferred a similar favour on him, and he, therefore, was not prepared to answer his hon. friend statements. It was certainly gratifying to him to find that his hon. friend had now endeavoured to show from the state of the population, as he had done last year, what was the condition of the slaves, though he did not think that the observations of his hon. friend had invalidated his arguments. The diminution of the female population was as great as that of the male; but the hon. Baronet had said, that a similar result would be found in this country on looking at those classes of persons who were employed in mines and factories; there it would be found that the population diminished. But what was the fact? Why, that the population of this country had increased, while the slave population had diminished to the enormous amount of 52,000 within the last ten years. How was this to be accounted fur, if it had not arisen from the system of slavery? But it was not a little remarkable that no hon. Gentleman who bad as yet spoken had absolutely objected to the liberation of the negroes, although the observations of his hon. friend near him, upon the state of slavery in St. Domingo, went very near the point. That would, however, have no avail with the people of England. Their knowledge on the subject of slavery, and the effects produced by it, had increased of late years, and the evidence of the necessity for negro emancipation had largely accumulated. For instance, the fact which had been frequently adverted to, and which had been repeated on that evening, that, in the proportion that the cultivation of the sugarcane was increased, the numbers of the negro population diminished. It had been said that, at St. Domingo, the quantity of sugar had materially diminished; but had the quantity of human happiness diminished? His hon. friend admitted that the population bad increased, and he could prove to their satisfaction that the comforts and improvement of the people had been materially promoted. The right hon. Gentleman below him had referred to a past speech of his, to show that he, at one time, was a friend to gradual emancipation. He wished the right hon. Gentleman had gone on to the Resolution which he moved in 1823, ill which he would find a declaration that slavery was contrary to the principles of the British Constitution, and of the Christian religion. The right hon. Gentleman appeared to suppose that he did not, ill those days, go to the full extent of his present principles. But since then new information had been obtained. They did not then know, as they did now, that all attempts at gradual emancipation were wild and visionary. They acted on the promise of Mr. Canning, that certain ameliorations in the condition of the slaves should take place; he assuring them that he had the authority of Government, and also of the West-India body in this country, for making that promise. One of these ameliorations was the instant abolition of the chastisement of females. Had the barbarous and disgusting practice of flogging women, however, ceased then? Certainly not. In the House of Assembly in Jamaica, a short time back, one Member had the courage to move its abolition; he found a seconder; but on a division, he had only one persim to vote for his motion. Even the prejudices of the people of this country had not been consulted in this instance, and the reason why he now listened to the proposition for a gradual abolition arose from the circumstance of all the promises which had been given remaining unfulfilled. The West Indians were perfectly right when they asserted, in the first debate that took place on this subject, that the House was ignorant of the facts, that hon. Members knew nothing about the real state of the case. That was no more than the truth; for the disclosures that had taken place since fully showed that they had not the remotest idea of the extravagant horrors of the whip, or of the amount of the diminution that took place annually in the negro population. Lord Seaford, when Mr. Ellis, had represented the whip to be nothing more than a symbol of office, a mere harmless instrument in the hands of overseers; but how turned out the fact? Why, that it was established by the evidence of a Parliamentary Return, that in the colony of Demerara, hundreds of thousands of lashes had been inflicted on the unhappy slaves by this instrument of cruel torture. The House and the country were not, in fact, in 1823, aware of many of those important circumstances which had since come to light. They were not aware of the fact of the depopulation consequent on the cultivation of sugar—they were not acquainted with the lashing of women. In those days there was not the same opposition to the moral and religious education of the negroes. In those days there were no Church Colonial Unions. In those days there were no instances of negroes being tried, convicted, and punished for no other offence than that of worshipping God after the dictates of their own consciences. There were no in- stances of Magistrates, so far from attempting to suppress riots, assisting in pulling down chapels with their own hands. There were then no instances of missionaries being hunted for their lives, or of their disappointed hunters wreaking their vengeance by tarring and feathering innocent children. These things were not then known and understood, or the people of England would doubtless have raised their voice as loudly and as energetically as they had now done. He had frequently been called headstrong and insolent, but now the charge against him seemed to be, that he had not gone far enough: if, however, he had neglected the interests of the negro, he would endeavour to make him reparation on the present occasion; and, therefore, when they came in Committee to that part of the plan which called on the negro to work three-fourths of his time without reward, it being, at the same time, admitted that the negroes required the instigation of the strongest inducements to labour, he should, on the principles and facts stated by the right hon. Gentleman himself, give that part of the plan his utmost opposition. It had been denied by some that flogging was still practised; but though he did not wish to dwell on instances of atrocity and cruelty, he might refer to the case of Henry Williams, a negro, who distinguished himself during the insurrection by the preservation of his master's property, which he afterwards delivered up to him in full cultivation. Mr. Betty's overseer, who had no other fault to find with him, said, that if he went to chapel, he should be sent to Rodney Hall Workhouse—a dreadful punishment. Henry Williams went to chapel; he was accordingly sent to Rodney Hall prison, and flogged. A female slave dared to sigh. Mr. Betty immediately cried, "hand out that lady!"—and she was laid down, and flogged. Williams was punished so severely, that his back was a mass of corruption. This was all admitted in the evidence before the Committee, it was not mere statement. Complaint was made to Sir George Murray, a most amiable and estimable man. Sir George, with proper indignation, immediately called on Mr. Betty to account for his conduct, but he refused to answer the interrogatories. He did not deny having the female laid on the ground and flogged; but contended that he had a right so to do, and that he did not exceed the legal punishment of thirty-nine lashes. If, contended this man, the right hon. Secretary thought it contrary to law, he was ready to submit the case to a Jury of twelve honest planters, who would convince him, that he had not exceeded the undoubted right of a West-Indian overseer. When the case was brought home, it was found that this doctrine was correct in law, and he then held in his hand an extract from Lord Goderich's despatch, in which he said "there is no illegality in the proceedings of Mr. Betty; the only complaint that can be made against him is, that he has exercised legal powers in an illegal manner." He would bring into the House a witness, whose testimony could not be impeached, one of the Five Deputies from the Colonies, and the only one who refused to negociate with Government—he meant Mr. Burnley. What was the picture he gave of slavery in a pamphlet which he published He spoke of it as a system of great enormity, infamous and disgraceful—that the present unnatural state of society in the West Indies was without parallel in the history of the world—that it was harsh in its features, revolting to every free-born mind, and required the aid of many evils to prop and support it. He also said the subject was one which was surrounded by unconquerable difficulties, and that the evils of slavery could not be remedied by anything short of its total abolition; and he did not fail to observe, that in every language, whip and slavery were found in juxta-position—that they were parts of the same system, and would stand or fall together. The description of the right hon. Gentleman was flattering when compared with that of this unexceptionable evidence. He could not help saying this—that from all the facts which had come to his knowledge, and from the communications which he received, both public and private, his mind was deeply impressed with a conviction that a servile war would be the inevitable consequence of deferring emancipation. He did not wish to enter into this painful subject. He gave the right hon. Gentleman, however, full credit for his propositions, which, together with his speech, would go a great way to diminish the probability of that disastrous event. The negroes had common sense, and, therefore, he had no doubt they would see the strong interest which they had in peace and tranquillity under present circumstances. He, however, most sincerely hoped that nothing would induce his Majesty's Ministers to postpone the settlement of the question beyond the present Session. No wisdom, no foresight could avert the doom of slavery; but wisdom and foresight might influence the mode of its termination. It might fall by violence, or it might expire in peace. It might terminate as it did in St. Domingo amidst the horrors of a servile war, or it might be concluded with peace, safety, and benefit to all parties. The negro character was determination, and their determination was not to work. He would refer only to one instance; he did not refer to it as a case of atrocity, but simply in illustration of this statement. After the late insurrection, a negro was tried, but there not being sufficient evidence, he was acquitted. He was told to return to his work; he refused, and declared that he would never work again unless for wages. Loaded muskets were pointed at his breast, and he was ordered to return home to work or prepare for death; he reiterated his determination to die rather than work without remuneration. He was shot. When the negroes could furnish heroes and martyrs as this man certainly was to his determination what was to be expected? There Was one other topic to which he might be expected to advert—namely, the probable conduct of the negro when emancipated.' He should take an opportunity of entering upon that more fully on another occasion. He had no doubt that he should be able to prove, that if they would give the negro wages, he would work for wages; and if this had not been already established, it was the fault of those who would not give wages, and not owing to any refusal on the part of the negroes. He did not claim for the negroes that they should be exempt front labour; all he claimed for them was the rights of human beings. He did not wish. to enter into abstract arguments; but as an hon. Gentleman had concluded his speech by a quotation from Shakspeare, he would conclude his by referring to a higher authority—Mr. Justice Blackstone—who said, "that life and liberty may be said to be absolute rights, which belong to persons in a state of nature, which every being born in the world has a right to enjoy, avid which no human legislation has a right to abridge or destroy, unless the party commit some criminal act which shall amount to a forfeiture of his right." This, therefore, he applied to negroes—and whether they would work or not, whether they preferred to live in a simple, or, as We might call it, savage state, they had still that' unalienable right which Mr. Justice Blackstone referred to—they were still men, and as men un- convicted of crime, they had a just claim to be free. He sought for them the pure, primitive, eternal rights of man. If on a future occasion it should turn out that they would not work, still he would say, they Were not the less entitled to the liberty given them by the laws of nature, and which by the laws of England had been taken away from them to substitute the abominable cruelties of our own. It only remained for him to state the course he should adopt in relation to the plan of the right hon. Gentleman. Though he opposed parts of it, yet he thought some of the propositions made night were great amendments, and would prove very satisfactory to the friends of emancipation. If the opposition were successful, it was probable they would lose the benefits of this measure altogether; and so sure as that was the case, so sure would life and property be unsafe in the colonies, as had already been stated in a report signed by Mr. Burge and other West-India agents. The hon. Gentleman concluded by declaring, that he saw no alternative in the rejection of this measure but the precipitation of emancipation by bloodshed and violence. He wished one verbal alteration in. the part which spoke of the proprietors proprietors of slaves. He would not recognize even in words a property in man. Though he should be sorry to vote against an Amendment embracing his own principles, yet he was bound to consult, in the first place, the welfare of; the negro, and a regard for his interest compelled him to support the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Ward

supported the plan proposed by his Majesty's Ministers, and illustrated the probability of its success, by a reference to. Spanish America. In Guatemala and Mexico: especially, the colonial produce was very considerable, and yet there were no slaves. The whole was the result of free labour. Before the revolution, planters, finding the expense of importing slaves to be very great, had encouraged marriages between the slaves already in their possession, and the native women; and had, in most instances, consulted their comfort and advantage. The consequence was, that when the revolution broke out, the negroes adhered as free labourers to their masters. The whole of the regulations respecting them were, under the superintendence of district, Magistrates; and, although they were, of course, not the most intelligent of human, beings, they had no difficulty in deciding the points brought before them. The cost of production in Mexico was even less than in Cuba, where, nevertheless, it was said that great skill existed in agriculture. 150 free labourers in Guatemala produced twice the quantity of sugar that was produced by 150 slaves in Cuba. But there was another great advantage—the abolition in Spanish America of all those hateful distinctions between man and man by which North America was polluted. However inferior Spanish America might be in other respects, in that she was transcendant. The sound of the whip would never again be there heard. Adverting to Cuba, the hon. Gentleman observed, that out of a population of 750 000 only 260,000 were slaves; whereas, in the population of our colonies, only one out of twelve or one out of fifteen was free. To what did Cuba owe the advantages which it possessed To the Spanish Colonial Code. That code secured every slave on his entrance into bondage four special rights. The first was the right of changing masters; the second the right of marriage; the third the right of acquiring and holding property; the fourth the right of employing that properly in the redemption either of their wives, their children, or themselves. A Spanish Alcade or District Magistrate, was the sole Judge of the disputes between the slaves and their employers. All these regulations were found highly beneficial in Cuba, and if beneficial in Cuba, which grew a fifth of the whole sugar produced, why should they not be beneficial in islands which differed from Cuba only in this—that Cuba was under Spanish laws, and they were under English laws? If a general convulsion were to take place tomorrow in the West Indies, he believed that Cuba, in consequence of the conduct pursued by the planters towards the slaves, would escape the ruin. It was impossible, however, to look at the question only in a moral and a religious point of view; it must likewise be regarded with a reference to the great interests at stake. It was evident that slavery had for ever ceased to exist. Public opinion had spoken on that point with a voice of thunder. But it was as evident that instant emancipation was impossible. There must be a probationary stage between slavery and freedom. Although the proposition of the right hon. Secretary of State delayed the arrival of entire freedom, it delayed it only that freedom might be more valuable and secure. It had been said, that the system of corporal punishment ought to be abolished; but it was scarcely possible that the power of inflicting it should be abused when placed in the hands of Magistrates sent out from this country. The case of St. Domingo had been referred to; but if they looked to the laws of Toussaint and Dessalines, they would find that although the whip was abolished, all the black population not in the military service were adscripti glebœ, and even women could not proceed from one district to another without the permission of a Magistrate. In such a climate it was not possible to trust to the stimulus of wages alone it should not, therefore, go forth that free labour was sure to prove the most economical mode of cultivation, for it would not be so unless there was some systematic preparation. In fact it appeared impossible at present that the stimulus of wages alone should be sufficient in a country in which the wants of man were so easily provided. There must be some gradual method for bringing that about, and that gradual method his Majesty's Ministers had discovered. With respect to compensation, he undoubtedly thought that the planters were entitled to it. He did not think that the House had a right to maintain any great abstract principle without a reference to the interests which might be sacrificed by it. He was not, therefore, one of those who thought that Emancipation might take place at once, or be celebrated on his Majesty's next birth-day. He could not blind himself to the widespread misery and devastation which such a proposition was calculated to produce, and therefore, in his opinion, the compensation might even have gone further with advantage than was proposed. He had approved of the manner in which the slaves were to work out the loan in the shape of wages, and he was sorry to hear that that part of the plan was relinquished. As to converting the loan into a gift, that seemed to him to be highly expedient; convinced as he was that the West-India proprietors would be unable to repay the money. He was far from being an advocate of the system pursued in the West Indies; but let it be recollected that the responsibility of that system did not rest on the West-India Proprietors. It rested on the British Parliament. For above two centuries the British Parliament had held out inducements to persons to invest their capital in West-India property; and those inducements had been held out to persons as intelligent and enlightened as themselves. He trusted, therefore, that the proposed plan might be adopted; and he trusted also that it would have the co-operation of the planters, without which it could not be successful.

The House resumed, the Chairman reported progress, and obtained leave to sit again.