HC Deb 15 April 1836 vol 32 cc1106-7

Sir George Grey moved the third reading of the Slavery Abolition (Jamaica) Bill.

Mr. T. Gladstone

was desirous, before this Bill passed, to draw a declaration from the hon. Gentleman, the Under Secretary for the Colonies, to the effect that this Bill was not intended to imply that the Legislature of Jamaica had been guilty of bad faith, with reference to the conduct which they deemed it necessary to adopt in regard to the Governor, Lord Sligo, but that they had rather been compelled to resort to it, from a combination of unfortunate circumstances. All he desired was, that his hon. Friend should give the House an assurance that this Bill, which overrode the legislative privileges of the Assembly of Jamaica, was not intended as a measure for identifying the steps taken by Lord Sligo, with the determination of Parliament on the question to which they referred. He was anxious that this Act should not be regarded as an unnecessary interference with the local legislature, but merely as a subsidiary enactment for carrying into execution the principles of the measures passed by Parliament for the abolition of slavery in the colonies.

Sir George Grey

said, that he had distinctly stated on moving for leave to bring-in this Bill, that it was not meant to convey any opinion by its proposal as to the difference which occurred between Lord Sligo and the Legislature of Jamaica; but that it was intended to declare, that a case of necessity was made out for the interference of the Imperial Parliament for the purpose of removing an admitted defect in the law, which seriously affected the apprenticed slaves, over whose interests Parliament was bound by every obligation to keep a careful watch.

Mr. Hume

admitted that Parliament was bound to take care that the stipulations of that Act, which cost the country a sum of twenty millions, were complied with, but warned the House against unnecessarily interfering with those concerns for which the local legislature were prepared to legislate.

Bill read a third time and passed.