§ Viscount Palmerston
then rose to move—That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, that She will be graciously pleased to give directions that there be laid before this House a Return of the Names and Description of the Witnesses examined before the Mixed British and French Commission, appointed to inquire into the best means for suppressing the Slave Trade; and Extracts of such parts of their Evidence as relate to the value of a mutual Right of Search as a means for the Suppression of the Slave Trade.The noble Lord said: Sir, in rising to make the Motion of which I have given notice, and to call the attention of the House for a short time to the subject of the Slave Trade, I feel that the House will not require from me any apology for such an encroachment upon their time. The subject is one which has, for many years past, excited the deepest interest both in Parliament and the country. It relates to one of the greatest and most flagitious, the most atrocious, and the most widely-extended crimes which have ever yet afflicted mankind. It relates to a crime which barbarizes and desolates Africa—which degrades and demoralizes the nations of America—I may say, from north to south;—which debases and brutalizes Asia—and which, I regret to say, still stains some of the nations of Europe with what I must hold to be unpardonable guilt. Sir, the frightful number of the victims of this crime cannot with any precision be ascertained. My hon. Friend the Member for Gateshead (Mr. Hutt) the other night told us, that the number of human beings carried off annually from Africa to America, including those who were landed and those who died in consequence of the passage, amounted, according to his calculation, to no less than 200,000. You will remember, too, that whatever the number may be, an equal number must be reckoned as having been the previous victims of the violence used in their capture, and of the sufferings endured on the march; and whether the number be, as the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) has supposed, greatly exaggerated, or whether it be near the truth, at any rate the Christian share in the Slave Trade, is, in its extent, most appalling. Now, Sir, every man, be his country what it may, whose mind has not been contaminated by participation in this atrocity, must feel the most ardent desire that this great offence should cease; and I am 143 sure there cannot be an Englishman who would not glory in the idea that his country had had the honour of taking a leading part in the accomplishment of so great a purpose. But we are told, and in some degree I think truly, that of late a change has taken place in the opinion of many men in this country who feel the deepest interest in this important matter; not a change indicating the slightest abatement in the horror and detestation which they feel for this practice — not a change consisting in the slightest diminution of their ardent desire to employ every practicable means of putting an end to it—but the change to which I allude consists in this, that many men whose good intentions I respect, and whose judgment in general is entitled to great weight, but who, I think, have looked only superficially at this matter, seeing on the one hand that the efforts which we have made since the year 1814 to put an end to the practice have not entirely effected the object—seeing that the Slave Trade still continues, have begun to despair of obtaining their object by the suppression of the Slave Trade, have adopted the opinion that our efforts are fruitless, have directed their efforts to another object; and thinking that they could best succeed by labouring for the abolition of slavery, have slackened in some degree in their efforts for the suppression of the Slave Trade itself. Now, with all respect for those persons, I differ entirely from the opinions which they entertain. I regard their despair of suppressing the Slave Trade as without reason, and I think the conclusion to which they have come quite erroneous. It is undoubtedly and obviously true that slavery is the cause, and object, and purpose, of the Slave Trade; and that if we could, by possibility, abolish all over the world the condition of slavery, the Slave Trade would, of itself, necessarily cease. But it is also equally true, that the Slave Trade is the root which gives life, and spirit, and stability to the condition of slavery. Seek to upheave a vast living tree, whose mighty roots are strongly, vigorously, and deeply imbedded in the soil, it will baffle the utmost exertions of your strength; but lay your axe to the root, cut off the supply of nourishment, and the tree will sicken and decay, and you will no longer find any difficulty in bringing it to the ground. It is on this principle I hold that, looking at the mat- 144 ter in a practical point of view, we ought to apply our great efforts to the suppression of the Slave Trade: cut off the supply of slaves, and I apprehend you will have achieved the best and shortest mode of destroying slavery. When you ask people to put an end to slavery, to emancipate their slaves, you ask them, almost in so many words, to give up their property—to give up that on which, perhaps, their existence depends; and you can, therefore, hardly expect them to assent to your proposal. But when you ask them to concur with you in the abolition of the Slave Trade, all you require of them is, that they should combine with you to prevent other persons from committing the crime; and you are much more likely to succeed in this object with them: the same motives which operate with them against your proposition in the one case, influences them in your favour in the other; for you would very frequently find the same owners who would struggle against you to the last for the preservation to them of the means by which they cultivate their slave-worked lands, eager to aid you in preventing the introduction, on the part of others, of fresh negroes, the employment of whom would be bringing into cultivation fresh tracts of land, whose produce would enter into injurious competition with that of their own existing estates. Do not, then, be persuaded to turn your attention from the Slave Trade to the condition of slavery. But it is urged that our efforts for the suppression of the trade have been fruitless. Now, I take upon myself to deny that proposition. It is said that we have not diminished the Slave Trade; that we have not reduced, by all our exertions for the last thirty years, the number of slaves transported from Africa; and that we have not succeeded in mitigating in any degree, but have, on the contrary, aggravated the sufferings of the negroes on the passage. I will take the last point first; I admit that we have not succeeded in mitigating those sufferings; but I altogether dispute the assertion that the means we have taken to prevent, have aggravated them. Any man who will dispassionately review the evidence given at various times during the last half century, before Committees of the House, and otherwise, must see that it would be absolutely impossible for the evils of the passage to the wretched captives to be aggravated beyond what they have been. 145 The miseries endured by the negroes on their voyage across the Atlantic, all past evidence proves to have been greater almost than human imagination could conceive, and, in practice, impossible to be increased; and, in point of fact, all we learn of the state of things on the passage now, shows us, that while, most unhappily, the evils are not lessened, at all event, they are not aggravated. Again, when it is said that our efforts have not diminished the number of Africans who are annually the victims of this traffic, I cannot assent to that statement. If the Government had given me that Return which I moved for about this time last year, I should have been in a condition to have brought forward this matter on more detailed and correct data. A Return, no doubt, was given; but prepared in so careless—in, I must say, so slovenly a manner, as to be really good for nothing; and I accordingly returned it, privately, to the right hon. Baronet, with an observation to that effect. However, this clearly appeared, that in the years 1840, 1841, 1842, the number of Africans who were victims to the Slave Trade was greatly less than on the average of the preceding forty years; so that, at all events, it cannot be said that our efforts have been wholly unsuccessful in diminishing the number of victims to that traffic. In looking at this question, and narrowly, we are not to measure the value of the methods employed for the suppression of the Slave Trade, by the mere test of whether the number of negroes actually transported had, within recent years, not actually diminished; because, if it can be shown that the measures which we took have had the effect of preventing an increase, as compared with what might otherwise have taken place; then, it is evident that a great and important good has been effected. In the first place, what is the presumptive proof of this good having been effected? Among the Papers laid on the Table of the House in this year, and in former years, is a statement of the number of vessels which had returned from the coast of Africa to Cuba, or Brazil, empty, in consequence of having been prevented by your cruisers from getting cargoes; and that number was considerable. It frequently appears that, in consequence of the blockade of rivers and bays, vessels were prevented from executing their orders, and obliged to return 146 home empty, not being able to procure negroes. Further, in the Returns moved for by my hon. and gallant Friend (Captain Pechell) behind me, it appears that since 1819, no less than 158 vessels were taken and condemned as slavers by the Mixed Commission Court of Sierra Leone, before they had received any negroes on board. Now each of those vessels would not have returned with less than 300 negroes on board, which would make an aggregate amount of no less than 50,000 or 60,000 negroes, all of which had been saved from the sufferings of the passage, and from slavery, by the exertions which were adopted to prevent these vessels from taking cargoes on board according to their orders. Then there were upwards of 60,000 negroes emancipated at Sierra Leone, and many others nominally, and only nominally, emancipated elsewhere. But if more positive proofs are required of the effects which have followed the methods which have been adopted to put an end to the Slave Trade, we have only to look to the vast extent of uncultivated land in Cuba and Brazil, and to recollect the increasing demand in Europe for the productions of slave labour of tropical climates; from both of which circumstances it may be fairly concluded that if the traffic in negroes were not restricted by the measures which were adopted, there would have been an immense increase in the number of negroes exported from the coast of Africa. It is stated in a Paper which was laid on the Table of the House, with respect to slave dealing in Brazil and Cuba, that a slavedealer would consider himself very well off if one vessel out of every six returned from Africa with a cargo of negroes; and that in consequence of the difficulty of procuring slaves the price of negroes had greatly risen, as the supply was infinitely short of the real demand for slaves. I am, therefore, looking at these things, entitled to affirm that the efforts which have been made, though not successful in putting an end altogether to the Slave Trade, have not been altogether fruitless; and that the evil has been very much restrained in its extent, though it has not been removed. But let me ask, what efforts have been really made to put an end to the Slave Trade? What has been the system which, it has been maintained, has been tried, since 1814, to this period, to accomplish this object? Why, 147 Sir, I am enabled, I think, to show that so far from its having been tried, and having failed, it has, on the contrary, never yet been fully tried up to the present time; that since 1814 it never yet has been brought into full operation, according to the principles on which it was founded. In the first place, this country contracted various Treaties with other Powers, the subjects of which were in the habit of carrying on the Slave Trade; by which Treaties, those Powers were bound to pass laws to prevent their subjects from carrying on the Slave Trade, either directly or indirectly, and to undertake to prevent their subjects from committing any infraction of those laws. The countries with which this country formed such Treaties are Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Spain, Portugal, and Brazil; and if those Treaties were faithfully and honourably executed, if the Powers which entered into them promulgated the laws enacted in accordance with them, as they bound themselves to promulgate them, and if they put those laws in force as they had bound themselves, there would, in my opinion, have been an end of the Slave Trade before this time. I know, that it may be said in answer to this statement, that the laws promulgated by those countries to prevent slave trading might be evaded by their subjects in the same manner as the laws to prevent smuggling are evaded. I hold, however, that such an offence as smuggling a cargo of human beings is easily prevented; for you cannot take negroes as smugglers take kegs of brandy, and sink them a mile from the shore, with buoys to mark the place where they have been sunk, in order that they may return and carry them away at the next tide, and bring them ashore. Nor can you hide a cargo of human beings, as smugglers hide bales of tobacco, or silks in a cavern in a gentleman's lawn, and carry them away one by one to different parts of the country to sell them. Even on a smaller scale, there is no difficulty so great as that which the murderer has in getting rid of the body of his victim in such a manner as to prevent it from turning up in some way or another to become evidence of his crime. I hold it, therefore, to be utterly impossible that a large number of men, women, and children could be landed on the coast of a civilized and well-organized country, and then sold and distributed to the estates of the owners, if the Government of that 148 country chose to enforce laws which had been framed to suppress the practice. Sweden, Denmark, and Holland have fulfilled their engagements; and there is no reproach to them for neglecting to observe them. France can of her own accord, and without the Treaty of 1831, abolish the Slave Trade; and, generally speaking, the Slave Trade, so far as France is concerned, is at an end. I am afraid, I cannot say universally, because not only is it reported that a large number of slaves are brought annually from Madagascar and the East Coast of Africa to the Isle of Bourbon, but there is in these Papers an account of a Treaty recently concluded between the French Government and the Imaum of Muscat, which, under the pretence of being a Treaty to enable the French to have free negroes for the cultivation of the Isle of Bourbon, is, in fact, a Treaty for the legalization of the Slave Trade. With regard to Sweden, Denmark, and Holland, the engagements entered into with them, with a view of putting an end to the Slave Trade, have been honourably fulfilled. With respect to Spain, Portugal, and Brazil, I must say that the engagements entered into by those Powers have been perseveringly, systematically, scandalously, and dishonourably violated. We are told that the conduct of the Government of Portugal has of late undergone alteration. What I said with regard to Portugal applies to its conduct up to 1839 or 1840. The Government tells us that Portugal has of late begun to be awake to a sense of their obligations to act according to the Treaty. Sir, I am glad to hear this statement on the part of the Government. I regret to say that the Papers and Correspondence of the year 1844, do not bear out so fully as I could wish the entire absolution of the Portuguese Government. At the same time, the exceptions to which I allude, appear to have been exceptions consisting of the misconduct of Colonial authorities, who, I believe, have since been removed by the Portuguese Government; and I have no doubt that at the time at which I am speaking, Portugal is fairly, and honourably, and, if so, I am sure she is advantageously to herself, fulfilling the obligations which she has contracted. But, Sir, if Portugal has so altered her conduct, what is the occasion of that change? Has it been any spontaneous sense of duty which suddenly came upon the Portuguese Government as the result of their own re- 149 flection? Not in the least. If the Government of Portugal are now fulfilling the obligations under which they have, for seven-and-twenty years at least, been lying in relation to this country, it is not owing to any honourable feeling on the part of that Government; it is solely owing to the measure of coercion which we proposed to Parliament in the year 1839, and which Parliament, most honourably, I may say, to parties in both Houses, agreed to adopt; those who were then the opposers of Government most magnanimously forgetting any advantage which, in a party point of view, they might for the moment have reaped from embarrassing our measure, in order to secure to the measure that character which rightly belonged to it—the character of a general determination of Parliament to assert the rights of the country established by Treaty, and put an end to the atrocious Slave Trade. Sir, I say it was that which brought Portugal to her senses; it was that which brought her to a sense, not of the duty which she owed us—of that she was aware before—but to a sense of her inability to resist us when she was in the wrong. She appealed in vain to the Powers of Europe. She had trifled with us for a long course of years, and when she found that we were no longer to be trifled with — when she thought it would not be prudent to brave us any longer, she submitted. She signed the Treaty in 1842, after the present Government had assumed office, and we admit that she is now honourably fulfilling the obligations which she had incurred. That is the ground of the alteration which has taken place in the policy of Portugal—it affords a good example of the effect which may be produced by such a course of conduct as that which we adopted towards her, and which, I rejoice to find, is to be followed up in analogous measures with other Powers. I say this the more assuredly, because, the advantages of this alteration in her conduct have not been confined to Portugal, or to the seizure of a large number of vessels carrying the Portuguese flag, which were engaged in the Slave Trade; for it is a remarkable coincidence that Brazil and Spain, the Governments of Rio de Janeiro and Cuba, which had trifled with England, and had met her remonstrances with false assertions, or vexatious and frivolous excuses, showed also that they were ready to fulfil their Treaties when England showed she 150 was in earnest, as she did by the measure of 1839. It is a remarkable coincidence, but a very happy and agreeable one, that the veil appeared at once to have dropped from the eyes of the Government of Brazil, who became, accordingly, very earnest in the execution of their own laws, and in fulfilling our Treaties. By another most fortunate coincidence, that immediately after that measure had been determined on, and announced by us, there came to Cuba, as had been noticed by the right hon. Baronet, on a former occasion, for the first time, a Governor who repudiated the practices of his predecessors, and refused to accept of those fees on the importation of negroes which had been received by former Governors, and who set himself fairly and honourably to the work of carrying out the spirit of the Treaty. In consequence of this there occurred in 1840, 1841, and 1842, a singular and sudden diminution in the number of slaves introduced into Cuba; and that, as we have ascertained from the right hon. Baronet, Brazil and Cuba, for the first time, showed a disposition to act in accordance with the Treaties into which they had entered. It will thus be seen that the vigorous measures which we rightfully took with regard to Portugal, were not only followed by successful results in Portugal, but were accompanied (I will say no more than accompanied) by a most beneficial change in the conduct of Brazil and Spain. Sir, I repeat, that the true way of putting an end to slavery is by putting an end to the Slave Trade; there can be no doubt, that to abolish that trade, will put an end to much of the suffering now endured by slaves. It is manifest that this must be the case. In the first place, when the slave owner feels that he can work out his slaves as he pleases, and make them go through the greatest amount of labour with the smallest supply of food, and by such means, and by saving all care and expense about them during sickness, and buying fresh negroes when these are expended, can work his estate more beneficially and cheaply, the consequence is, that the demand for slaves in the market is extended, and the facilities and rewards for importation are higher. But, when the Slave Trade is prevented—when the supply of slaves is cut off, and the owner knows if one of his slaves dies, he cannot buy another in the market, the 151 view of the slave owner becomes immediately altered, and he sees the expediency of treating his slaves in the same way in which a sensible man would treat his horses or his oxen, or any other animals that were useful to him. He gives the slave good food, the better to enable him to labour for his master; he takes care of him in sickness, that he may prolong his life, which is profitable; he spares the female slave while she is breeding, in order that she may bring forth her offspring alive, as he wishes the offspring to be born for his future use; and, in fine, his whole conduct as regards his slaves is altered. It is quite clear, therefore, that by accomplishing, if we could, the termination of the Slave Trade, we should at once divest slavery of a great number of its horrors; for the master would have a stronger interest in preserving the health and the life of his slave, than if an unrestricted traffic were permitted. I do not mean to say that a feeling of mutual interest would be so strong as to extinguish the bad passions of human nature altogether—those passions which are more violent in the heart of the slave owner than of others, as the system of slavery has the effect of demoralizing not only the slave, but the master—yet the interest of the owner would induce him to improve the treatment of his slaves if he could obtain no other supply in the market. If that good effect would arise, as it undoubtedly would, from the abolition of the Slave Trade, its effect on the condition of another class—of the native Indians of Brazil—would not be less important. It is stated in the Papers which have been laid on the Table of the House, that when the supply of negroes had been for a time cut off, the effect was very soon perceptible in the treatment of the Indians of the northern provinces of Brazil, as the Brazilian proprietors altered their treatment of the native Indians, in order to induce them to labour and settle in the neighbourhood of their establishments; and those efforts were made to bring a wild and savage population into closer connexion with civilization, and an initiation into its usages. The course which we took with regard to Portugal had, as I have shown, a very good effect with regard to Cuba and Brazil; and if the means were applied which we possess to compel Spain and Brazil to conform to and fulfil the 152 obligations which they have contracted with us, the Slave Trade would oon almost cease to exist. That would be, in my opinion, the effect of those States fulfilling the conditions of their Treaties with us; and I, therefore, say, that under these circumstances, it is not fair to tell us that our method has failed; for, in that particular regard, namely, binding other countries to fulfil their obligations, our system has never been brought fully into operation. I know that Spain and Brazil still violate their duties, and Portugal has only recently commenced fulfilling her obligations sincerely and earnestly. Our method of dealing with this trade hitherto has been threefold: the first part of it was to make Treaties compelling Foreign Powers to put a stop to the trade with the markets in their dominions; the second was to intercept the trade in the passage to those markets; and for this purpose we have established a naval police. But it is evident that the establishment of a naval police, consisting of cruisers off the coast of Africa, could have no effect unless our cruisers were armed with the power to search vessels that they might have reason to consider were engaged in the Slave Trade; but it is manifest that this could only be done by consent of the nations with which we had Treaties. We have obtained an agreement to a mutual Right of Search. But how long is it since we obtained that? Had we that Right of Search agreed to ever since 1814? Has it been established during those thirty years during which it has been said that our system was tried? It was hardly tried at all during a great portion of that time, and until the Treaties of 1817 — the Treaties with Spain and Portugal—it was not effectual as regarded vessels south of the line, or vessels which had no slaves on board; and it was not until the Treaty of 1831 that we obtained that power over vessels engaged in the Slave Trade, and sailing under the flag of France. In 1835, similar powers were given over vessels with the flag of Spain; and it was not until 1839 or 1840, that adequate powers were obtained as regarded the vessels carrying on the Slave Ttrade under the flag of Portugal. Therefore, it is not just to say that we had a trial of our system for thirty years, as it was not until 1839 or 1840 that we could be said to have adequate powers to make our naval 153 police effectual, and as regards France the power is now entirely taken from us. In 1841 and 1842, however, when that power of naval police was in full effect, the Slave Trade was materially diminished, and our method did so far perfectly succeed. I have mentioned two courses which are essential in putting an end to slavery, and I shall now come to the third. I have mentioned the effect which would be produced by preventing a supply in the market, as that immediately affected the cultivator of the ground by slave labour; and in the second place, I described the advantages which are derived from preventing the transport of slaves; and I now come to a third course, which tends most effectually to put an end to slavery, namely, interfering with the market at which slaves are bought for exportation on the coast of Africa. It was not until 1838 or 1839 that we had recourse to that part of the system which consists in entering into Treaties with some of the native chiefs, in order to induce them to abandon the Slave Trade, and with others to allow us to land on the part of the coast in their possession, and destroy the baracoons which are used by the slave dealers. That part of the system has had a great effect. To it was attributed, in Sierra Leone, the diminution of the Slave Trade in 1841 and 1842. The Commissioners in their Report last year say, that this circumstance had caused some forty or fifty chiefs to decline the Slave Trade. I do not mean to say that it was the only cause; but it was one of the causes; and therefore I say, that part of the plan was successful as far as it went, and did constitute, so far as it went, a fair trial of the principle on which the method we adopted was founded. But on this part of the subject, when I say that the method had not got into full operation as regards the naval police, I may state the reason why it had not got into full operation, which was, because various events compelled the Government to remove some of the cruisers which were employed as their naval police; they were obliged to remove at one time some of the cruisers on the West Indian station; at another time some of those on the American station; at another time some of those on the African station; and complaints were made to the Government by the Commissioners from time to time that the removal of the cruisers would 154 give a fresh impulse to the Slave Trade' and they entreated that other cruisers might be sent to blockade the coast in the room of those that had been removed. In adverting to the causes which had the effect of removing our cruisers from those stations, I may advert to the operations of 1839 and 1840 in China, which compelled the Government to remove a portion of the squadron from the coast of Africa; in the next place, to the disputes with New Grenada, which, for a time, drew away a portion of our squadron from the West Indian station; and, thirdly, to the necessity of sending a squadron to the River Plate, which took away a portion of the squadron on the Brazilian coast. All these causes of the removal of a portion of our ships, show that our system of naval police was not allowed a fair trial, and that consequently our whole system has never been allowed for any considerable period to be in full operation; that it has not been tried and found wanting: and I am afraid that unless the Government alter all their arrangements of the present system of naval police, it will not be likely to be effectual in accomplishing the object for which it was intended. In the Papers on this subject which have been laid on the Table of the House during this Session, and in the portion marked Class A, there is a Report on our cruisers on the coast of Africa, which is well worthy of attention, as showing the trial which the system of naval police has had. The Report is dated Sierra Leone, 31st December, 1843—it is a curious paper, and one which my hon. and gallant Friend near me (Sir C. Napier) says fully supports the position which he took in this House on the subject of the efficiency of those vessels for the purpose for which they were sent out. It states—To the very inferior sailing qualities of several of our cruisers must be attributed the escape of so many slavers, particularly from the coast between Gambia and Cape Coast Castle. Her Majesty's steamer Soudan, owing to her inefficient state, has lain at anchor nearly the whole of the year 1843, in the river Sierra Leone. Her Majesty's steamer Albert, whose sailing qualities are so bad, that with both sails and steam at their full power cannot exceed five knots an hour, has been cruising in this quarter, but without succeeding in making a single capture. Had these vessels been anchored in the Gallinas and Pongas, they must have prevented a large export of slaves in those two places, and proved a great protection to British traders.155 Sir, the fact is, that we have on the African station Kites and Racers, and Lightnings and Comets, and various other names expressive of speed—but which are vessels that, nevertheless, can catch nothing. We have Growlers, and Ardents, and Thunderers, and other formidable titles, lying in the harbours of Sierra Leone, in the most profound tranquillity. Unless we have an efficient naval police, our system cannot be tried—unless the coasts are guarded by constables that can run, instead of the old Charlies, we cannot expect to succeed, for the old watchmen cannot be expected to succeed, and we ought, therefore, to have recourse to the new police. The system has not been fairly tried; and it is, consequently, most unjust to say it has been found ineffectual. It is a system, which consists, as I have said, in the first place, of Treaties with Foreign Powers, by which they agree to prevent the Slave Trade within their dominions; secondly, of Treaties provided for the interception of the slave traders off the coast of Africa; thirdly, Treaties with the native chiefs, by which they agreed that they would not sell slaves themselves, and that they would permit us to land and destroy the baracoons on their coast. But here comes a Treaty by which the Right of Search in respect to one of the greatest Powers has been entirely abolished. This has been the result of the late negotiations which led to the appointment of Commissioners on both sides, who should examine evidence respecting the practical working of the Right of Search; and who were to find, from naval officers, I presume, whether the Right of Search, which this House has so often addressed the Crown to uphold, was, in the apprehension of the officers examined, essentially useful for the purpose to which it was intended. Sir, that Commission was appointed, and they did examine certain naval officers, as I am informed, both English officers and French officers—I am informed such officers were examined; but who they were, or what they said, I know no more than any other person who knows merely what he hears in the street, or in any room that he may go into; but I have heard, and I believe it, that those officers did state that they considered the Right of Search was indispensable to render the naval police effective; and it was most natural that they should say so. I cannot tell how any man could come to a different conclusion; 156 and if the Commissioners declared that the Right of Search was not necessary to render the operations of the naval police of any use, then I say that the evidence which has been taken before them, to say the least of it, is in direct contradiction and variance with the result they have come to. I do not see why we should not be informed as to what that evidence was. I do not see any reason satisfactory to the House which the Government could give for refusing to furnish that evidence; and whether they offer a reason for refusing it or not, it is my intention to take the sense of the House on the matter, if they should be inclined to refuse to lay that evidence on the Table. Perhaps the Ministerial answer may be given, that the production of that evidence would be injurious to the public service. I hope the Government will not give such an answer as that; for if such an answer be given, it will not, it cannot, be believed by any living man. What does the evidence contain? In the first place, it may contain a description of the tricks and stratagems of the slave dealers by which they avoid detection: would it be any harm to publish that? Would any man say that the slave dealers do not know their own tricks, as well as the officers who describe them? Can we give them any information on that head? Can any man read the statements on the subject of the Slave Trade, and not see that the officers and surveyors are constantly reporting new shifts and new evasions on the part of the slave dealers, from time to time. No possible inconvenience could arise from laying before us that evidence; on the contrary, it would be a most useful publicity. It would add nothing to the knowledge already possessed by the slave traders, whilst it would put the public at large, and our officers and merchants, in possession of the stratagems of the slave traders, and thus be an assistance to those who would be likely to aid our exertions in counteracting those tricks and devices. It may be that there were certain suggestions given by our officers with respect to the counteraction of the tricks and stratagems of the slave traders; but I deny that laying before us in the evidence any such suggestion could be injurious to the public service. It may be said that the slave traders would be put upon their guard; but I ask will not the slave traders in time find out the plans for counteracting their stratagems 157 in the same way in which our officers discovered those stratagems? They would clearly find them out without having this evidence; and so far from evil arising from making those suggestions public, I think it would be a public good if it would act as a warning to the slave traders, by showing them that you were acquainted with their shifts, and knew how to prevent them. The third reason which may be assigned is, that portions of the evidence might create personal feelings amongst the officers of the British and French Navies. It is possible, but I think it very unlikely, that officers, from a spirit of nationality, would in their evidence as to the officers and the naval proceedings of another State, make statements which would lead to irritation on the part of those to whom they referred—I think it unlikely that officers, gentlemen who knew they spoke before the Commissioners of both nations—that English and French officers would use unbecoming expressions, or say anything calculated to give unnecessary offence. If the statements made were only facts which would show that, directly or indirectly, any other countries were connected with the Slave Trade—if they tended to show that, directly or indirectly, any British subject was concerned in the Slave Trade, they ought to get every publicity, as that publicity, instead of doing harm, would do a great deal of good; I think this House has a right to know what were the opinions of the officers examined, touching the usefulness of the Right of Search. Here we have a Treaty which abolishes the Right of Search; that Treaty was preceded by the examination of persons knowing the practical bearing of the Right of Search, and we have a right to know whether their evidence and opinions bear out the Treaty or not. And, although it may not bear out the Treaty, and the Government may on that account be somewhat reluctant to produce the evidence which may go to their own condemnation, still I am sure that they will not shrink from the responsibility of their own decision, and that they will feel it to be their duty, on the one hand, to give up that evidence; and on the other hand, to state the reasons, if there are good ones—though I much fear there are not—the reasons which, in spite of, and notwithstanding that evidence, led them to think it right to take the step which they have taken. This Treaty virtually abolishes, 158 now and for ever, the mutual Right of Search between England and France. By so doing, I say that it gives up the most useful arrangement for the accomplishment of that purpose which both England and France professed to desire to accomplish—namely, the abolition of the Slave Trade. I contend that that right has been given up, without our having obtained, as a substitute, any equivalent whatever. I presume that it will not be disputed that the Right of Search is now permanently given up. The new Treaty goes to this—that the Treaties of 1831 and 1832 are suspended for ten years, and that in the fifth year the two parties may concert together, and decide whether these Treaties shall again be put in force or not; that is to say, that, at the end of the fifth year, the parties may consider whether or not they will negotiate a new Treaty, because the putting again in force the Treaties of 1831 and 1832 will, at that period, be exactly tantamount to concluding these Treaties afresh. The Convention further goes on to say that, if at the end often years, these Treaties are not again put in force, they will from that time be considered as abandoned. It is very curious to observe how, by an ingenious arrangement of words, of suspension, concert, and Heaven knows what, the French negotiator has so contrived that, at the end of ten years, his country will be wound out of all engagements entered into by the Treaties of 1831 and 1832. I am bound to say that the skill and address of the French negotiator are much deserving of admiration. I only regret that the skill, the address, the dexterity, and the ability which he has shown, were employed in so bad a cause; and one reason why I the more regret this is, that the name of the Duc de Broglie is identified with the efforts made by the two countries to suppress the Slave Trade; because, it was the Duc de Broglie who signed the Treaties which he has been now instrumental in putting an end to. At the end of ten years, unless the opinion of France is entirely changed, and unless France comes back to a desire to engage in a mutual Right of Search, France is entirely out of all her former engagements. I really must say, that it is too much for any man to ask us to believe him serious when he says, as is said in France, that this Right of Search indicates a desire on the part of England 159 to exercise undue authority on the seas, or that it is an instrument by which we are to exercise some advantage over the commerce and over the maritime force of France. We were no more desirous that our merchantmen should be stopped, visited, searched, and overhauled by French ships, than the French were that their merchantmen should be subject to the same interruption by our cruisers. Inconvenience must have been, and was, anticipated on both sides, and to that inconvenience we submitted, because we deemed it conducive to the great object which humanity had in view. As to its being by any possibility conducive in any way to England's interest, as contradistinguished from the interest which she had in promoting the main purpose which she had in view—the abolishing of the Slave Trade—the assertion is so palpably absurd, that I cannot give credit, even to a slave trader himself, who may affirm that we have been acting upon such a principle. The clamour to which Her Majesty's Government have yielded, in abolishing the Right of Search, is a clamour arising from a conspiracy of slave traders, not only in France, but also in Cuba, Brazil, and elsewhere. We have, in the Papers of last year, a statement that the slave traders of Cuba were raising a subscription to get England abused in the French newspapers. And abroad, many persons were engaged, more or less, in that trade; and the clamour raised is not, I think, a clamour arising out of any real national jealousy entertained by France of England; it is not the result of any abusive exercise by us, of the right which these Treaties gave us—it is a clamour raised for interested purposes, and adopted by a party who made it at one time an instrument against the French Government, and yielded to, through entire weakness, on the part of Her Majesty's Advisers. Weakness, I certainly call it. What is the history of the transaction? The right hon. Baronet said, on a former occasion, that it was the result of a national irritation, occasioned by transactions in the year 1840, in which it was my lot to bear a share. He has been pleased to do me more honour than I deserve, by representing these transactions as mine, and endeavouring to separate me from the Government of which I had the honour of being a Member. Sir, I cannot accept 160 the compliment which the right hon. Baronet has thus tendered me. These measures, it was my duty, from the office which I then held, to be instrumental in proposing and executing; but the measures themselves were the measures of the Government; and the merit of them, if any merit is due to them, is due equally to every Member of that Government. The right hon. Baronet may say again, that the irritation to which he has yielded, was owing, he will not say to my fault, nor will he inquire whether I am to blame, or where the blame is to attach. I have good authority for saying, and so has the right hon. Baronet, that no blame, arising from these measures, can attach to the Government of England of that day. Why, Sir, who approved of these measures? Who approved of the policy pursued by England in continuing, with Austria, Russia, Prussia, and with Turkey, arrangements for establishing an order of things consistent with the maintenance of the peace of the world, and with the preservation of the balance of power in Europe? Who approved of these measures? The right hon. Baronet himself. His Colleague, too—that great and illustrious man, and such I may be allowed to call him in his lifetime without flattery—the Duke of Wellington, openly declared his approval, in the discussion on the Address in 1841, of these transactions, and stated that he entirely approved of the policy which the Government of that day had pursued, and that no one fault had been committed in carrying that policy into execution. The right hon. Baronet was not quite so prodigal in his declarations; but, in the speech which he made on the Address, and which I looked over this morning, there was a studious avoidance of anything like blame—there was, indirectly, an acknowledgment that we had acted rightly; and the only point on which he reserved his opinion was the point as to whether we had sufficiently communicated or not with M. Guizot on the 13th and 14th of July. But, with respect to the policy pursued by the Government, I maintain that it had his approval. It had the approval also of the noble Lord now at the head of the Foreign Department, the approval of the Duke of Wellington, and, I believe, the approval of the rest of his Colleagues. If that be so, is it fair, by insinuation, by question, by disclaiming all intention to inquire—is it fair, I say, to lead other 161 people to suppose that he thinks we were to blame? He says, he won't inquire where the blame rests; but, by thus hesitating, does he not imply an opinion which he does not entertain? The policy which is thus impugned by implication might, and did, create for a moment a very unnecessary irritation in the public mind of France. I most deeply regretted that such should have been its result. But, nevertheless, the object obtained was so important, its importance was so great, in reference to permanent, peaceful relations between England and France, that I thought the temporary irritation in France not too dear a price to pay for the solid and permanent advantages of that policy. That policy was not the cause of the abandonment of the Right of Search, because, after the irritation spoken of had subsided, after the operations under the Treaty had been completed, it was frequently declared in the French Chambers that, in the course of these transactions, we did not give offence to France; and after the Government of that day had gone out, and their more conciliatory successors had come into office, the French Government signed the additional Treaty of 1841. When I say that weakness was shown by Her Majesty's Government, in submitting quietly to the refusal of the French Government to ratify the Treaty of 1841, I am ready to prove my assertion. When it was found that the Government submitted quietly to such a breach of obligation, the opposition in the French Chambers urged the French Government to go a step further, and to require the abrogation of the Treaties of 1831 and 1832. What was, then, M. Guizot's reply? He refused, and I will tell you why. He said—If I made such a proposal to England, it would be one which I have no right to make, and which would be met with a peremptory denial: to be so met would be a humiliation, and I will not expose myself and the French Government to be so humbled by a Foreign Government.The Chambers took that answer for the time, and there is no denying that it is a good one. In the course of the following year, the Chambers and the Government found that Her Majesty's Government was not so denying and peremptory as M. Guizot had at first imagined. Many transactions, which I will not detail, of that year, showed him that, if sufficiently 162 pressed, it was possible to find them more yielding. Next year, when he was again pressed to make the same proposal, as he saw his way, he determined to do it. He did not then, as before, anticipate a peremptory refusal. From that time negotiations followed, and they have ended in the entire abrogation of the Treaties of 1831 and 1833; and, as I contend, without any equivalent having been given in their stead. But I shall be told that there is an equivalent—that the equivalent, substituted for the mutual Right of Search, is the employment of two squadrons, of twenty-six vessels each, the one French, the other English, on a certain portion of the west coast of Africa. The Right of Search was more extensive than this. It extended to wherever the Slave Trade was carried on, or nearly so. It embraced the West Indies—the coast of Brazil—the western coast of Africa; it extended around the island of Madagascar, and applied, therefore, to a certain degree, to the east coast of Africa also. The operations of the substitute are to be limited to one portion of the west coast of Africa. Therefore, in territorial extent, I say, you (the Ministers) have not got an equivalent for what you have given up. But we may be told to look at the number of vessels to be employed, and find in that an equivalent. The two countries are to have twenty-six vessels a piece, making fifty-two in all. Now, I called for a return to show what was the number of vessels which, in each half year for some time past, were armed with warrants for the suppression of the Slave Trade—of French vessels armed with English warrants; and English vessels armed with French warrants; and it seems, taking an average of the number of warrants outstanding from the 1st of January to the 1st of July, from 1840 to 1845, that is to say, for ten half years, that there were fifty-two French vessels in possession of English warrants, and fifty-four English vessels in possession of French warrants. ["Hear!"] The right hon. Baronet may say that some of them belonged to vessels which had just returned, and which had not yet given up the warrants. I will, therefore, make an abatement of some of them. There is room to do so, because whereas by the present Treaty there are fifty-two vessels to be employed, 106 warrants were outstanding under the former arrangement. That is, double the number 163 of vessels stipulated to be employed by the present Treaty; so that if I give him half, which is much more than a proper allowance, still the result will be that we have not gained by the new arrangement any additional force for the purpose in view. But the fifty-two vessels now to be employed, will not be worth fifty-two vessels under the old plan. These fifty-two vessels will be mutually powerless, to a certain extent, with regard to the English and French flags, only one-half of them being invested with any power. Your French cruiser cannot examine anything but French ships, except, perhaps, those of Denmark and Sweden: it is perfectly powerless with regard to England, Spain, Portugal, and Brazil. None of these four flags will it be able to stop, even if it finds the ship crowded and crammed with slaves. The French have no Treaty with Brazil, Spain, and Portugal; and I should like to know whether the French Government, after having got us to abrogate the Right of Search, will now go and propose entering into such a Treaty with Spain, Portugal, or Brazil? If they do not, their cruisers are of no use, except for the French flag. What, then, will happen? Slavers, as is stated in the Papers on the Table, are in the habit of providing themselves with the flags and papers of different countries. These flags and papers may be had for a few dollars, in various parts of the world. What then, I repeat, will happen? A slaver comes out of a river or a bay on the coast of Africa — she meets a French cruiser, and thereupon hoists the English flag — the cruiser sends a boat to board and examine her; an Englishman is on board, who acts as captain, and produces the papers. They are, apparently, in perfect order—there may be slaves on board, but the French cruiser can do nothing—the officer wishes the captain good morning, and a fine passage, and goes back to his cruiser, and the slaver proceeds on her voyage. She next comes in contact with a British cruiser. By that time she has hauled down her colours, which she does not show again until a shot is fired ahead of her. Under these circumstances, when that compliment is paid her, she hoists the French flag. An English officer goes on board, and, with all that politeness which he is properly instructed to use, requests the captain to show his papers; and—like the show box, which puts forth a man or a 164 woman, or like the barrel which furnishes a glass of ratafia or brandy, as may be desired — this time a Frenchman makes his appearance, as captain, and French papers are produced. The ship, for the time, is French. There are slaves on board; but the English officer, in his turn, wishes the captain good morning and a fine passage, returns to his ship, and away goes the slaver unmolested as before. She then arrives upon the coast of Brazil, and acts the same part. If she chances to meet one of the French cruisers she is again a Brazilian, a Portuguese, a Spanish, or an English ship, just as she pleases, for she has her choice. She cannot, therefore, be molested, and in she goes and lands her cargo. I say, then, that even within that portion of the coast of Africa to which your new Treaty is limited, that Treaty is inefficient as compared with the system which was previously adopted, and which is now given up; and, unless your cruisers can go about chained together, like the Siamese twins, hunting in couples, it is impossible that, under the new system, many ships will not escape, which, under the former arrangement, must necessarily have been captured. But then, why, I should like to know, if the French Government is as sincere as it professes to be, are its engagements limited to the west coast of Africa? Why are they not extended to the West Indies? Why not to the coast of Brazil? Is it that the late alliance between the royal families of France and Brazil has rendered more deference desirable on the part of the French Government towards the Government of Brazil? Is that the reason why the Brazilian coast is not included in the recent arrangements? Why, again, do these engagements not extend to the east coast of Africa? There are upwards of 2,000 miles on the west coast, along which the Slave Trade is carried on; but there are also about 1,700 miles on the east coast along which the same trade is now carried on; and I lay my life that if the Treaty be successful as to that part of the coast to which it applies—if you drive the Slave Trade altogether from the 2,000 miles on the west coast, which I do not think you will, though I hope you may, you will only drive it to the east coast, where it will flourish along the extent to which I have alluded; thus succeeding in merely transferring it from one point to the other, 165 by which its horrors will be multiplied, the voyage will be lengthened, and the sufferings of the captive slaves greatly increased. Why do I say this? Because we have evidence now, that the Slave Trade is, and in former years has been, to a great extent, carried on along the east coast of Africa. I say it, moreover, because it appears from these Papers, as I have already stated, that the French Government have lately concluded a Treaty with the Imaum of Muscat, by which they are to be enabled to engage, as it is said, free labourers, but really to hire slaves to carry to the island of Bourbon for the purpose of cultivating the soil there. It is said that these slaves are to be employed as free labourers in a Colony in which slavery exists by law. It is also said, that after a certain period of time, they are to return to their native country, and to carry back with them the earnings of their labour, and the benefits of the civilization and the knowledge which they have acquired. This pretence is, fortunately, too palpable to deceive any man. Free negroes you may call them; but when they are carried to a slave Colony, they will be as much slaves as any of the slaves existing there before: by law, they will be just as much slaves as those already in the Colony, as much slaves—and more I cannot say—as the unhappy Emancipados in Cuba and Brazil. As to their going back again to their native country, it is possible, for aught I know, that their spirits, when they are once freed by the merciful hand of death from their sufferings, may be permitted, in passing to their future destiny, to cast a passing glance at the place of their birth—at what was once their home; but as to the idea that in the body they are ever to go back alive to their native country, the notion is too absurd for the most credulous to believe it. I should like, now, to know how you are to reconcile that Treaty of the French Government with the Imaum of Muscat, with the Treaty which we have entered into with the same personage, by which he bound himself not to permit his subjects to deal, within certain limits, in slaves with any Christian Power? I hold that those two Treaties are completely at variance. I am sure Her Majesty's Government will not take their stand on the quibble that the negroes to be imported into the French Colonies are to be engaged as free labourers. The mere sti- 166 pulation that the French are to hire slaves, intimates that those negroes will still retain the character of slaves after they have reached the Isle of Bourbon. But does the House know what is the character of the Slave Trade which this Treaty of the French with the Imaum of Muscat is calculated to encourage? The French will buy their slaves at the Island of Zanzibar; and the slaves are taken to that island in small coasting vessels. We have heard a great deal of the horrors of the middle passage; we have heard of the sufferings of the negroes carried from Africa to America, and of the horrible tortures they endure in the slave ships; but does the House know what are the sufferings of those wretched negroes who are carried to the slave market at Zanzibar? Sir T. F. Buxton tells us that the Arab dows, or vessels, which carry these slaves coastwise to Zanzibar, areLarge unwieldy boats, without a deck. In these temporary platforms are erected, leaving a narrow passage in the centre. The negroes are then stowed in bulk, the first tier being laid along the floor of the vessel, two adults, side by side, with a boy or girl resting between and upon them, until the tier is complete. Over them the first platform is laid, separated—We have often heard of the interval between decks in slave ships, being small; but what will the House think of this method of stowing human beings?Over them (Sir T. Buxton proceeds) the first platform is laid separated but an inch or two from their bodies, when the second tier is stowed in the same manner, and so on, until they reach the gunwale of the vessel. They calculate that the voyage will not exceed twenty-four, or, at the farthest, forty-eight hours.Such was the description; and let the House conceive the sufferings, even for twenty-four hours, of human beings, placed in a hot climate in this position? But the description proceeds:—It often happens that a calm, or unexpected land-breeze, delays their progress; in this case a few hours are sufficient to decide the fate of the cargo; those of the lower portion of the cargo that die cannot be removed They remain until the upper part are dead and thrown over, and, from a cargo of from 200 to to 400 stowed in this way, it has been known that not a dozen, at the expiration of ten days, have reached Zanzibar.This is the trade which the Treaty of the French Government with the Imaum of 167 Muscat is about to encourage and increase. This is the trade which a Government professing to co-operate with us in an anxious desire to suppress the Slave Trade, will, by that Treaty, encourage and promote on the eastern coast of Africa. I need not ask you why it was that the French Government did not extend the operations of their suppressive squadron to that coast. By the stipulations of the Treaty we concluded with the Imaum of Muscat, he bound himself not to permit his subjects to sell slaves to any Christian Power; and we obtained additional powers for searching his vessels found at sea and engaged in the Slave Trade. In one of his letters, contained in the Papers laid before the House, the Imaum says—I agree to that; I make a great sacrifice of revenue by consenting to abolish the Slave Trade with the countries bordering on the Red Sea; but do not ask me to give up the Slave Trade that comes coastwise along the shore.That is, the Slave Trade of which I have just read a description. The Imaum says—To give up that trade would be more than, with my pecuniary losses, I could bear; and I pray you not to press the request.There is in the Papers laid on the Table last year a very curious and diverting letter from the Imaum, in answer to a communication from Lord Leveson, pressing him to abandon the Slave Trade, in which the Imaum says, "It is the angel of death that has appeared to me; but I submit to my fate. It is the will of God, and I have no choice." [Sir R. Peel: Will you show me that in the Papers?] Here it is, [said the noble Lord, handing the Papers over to the right hon. Baronet, pointing out the passage to which he referred:] — The Imaum sent over to this country a Minister, who was most kindly received by the present Government; and, in a subsequent communication, the Imaum says that the manner in which the representations of that Minister were received, had greatly relieved his mind, and had brought him to life again. The Imaum, in answer to the application to abandon the Slave Trade altogether, expresses his readiness to give up—though at a great pecuniary sacrifice—his Slave Trade to the Red Sea and Egypt; but he begs and entreats that he may not be compelled to give up the Slave Trade along the coast, from which he 168 derives a large portion of his revenue. His request was complied with; but he was told—and it appears in these Papers—that it would look better if that exception in favour of his coastwise Slave Trade were to appear to be a reservation made by him, rather than by the direct sanction and permission of the British Government. I quite agree in that opinion; although, after all, there is but little difference between the cases; but I really do wonder how it happened that with these Papers before them, and with the statements I have read, of which they might have a knowledge, Her Majesty's Government should have thought it right not to persist in requiring the abandonment of this coasting Slave Trade. I cannot imagine how it happened that they did not insist that the Imaum should, at all events, make certain regulations for the conduct of this Slave Trade. Why did they not insist that he should make a law, fixing the number of negroes to be conveyed by a vessel, in proportion to its tonnage, so as to mitigate, in some degree, the horrible atrocities of the trade as it is now carried on? Such a regulation would have been for the interest even of the Imaum himself; for his revenue arises not from the dead bodies which are thrown overboard, but from the slaves who are safely landed. Sir T. Buxton says:—On the arrival of the vessels at Zanzibar, the cargoes are landed; those that can walk up the beach are arranged for the inspection of the Imaum's Officer, and the payment of duties—those that are weak or maimed by the voyage are left for the coming tide to relieve their miseries.The Imaum derived his revenue from the able-bodied slaves who can walk up the beach, and not from those who are thrown overboard on the passage, or who are left on the beach to be swept away by the coming tide. I think that Her Majesty's Government have been guilty of great neglect in this matter, in not requiring some decent regulation of the trade, if they thought proper to abstain from pressing the Imaum to give it up altogether. I say, then, that this Treaty omits to provide any precautions for the suppression of the Slave Trade on the eastern coast of Africa, on the coast of Brazil, or in the West Indies; and that it is deficient in its provisions with reference to the western coast of Africa, to which only it is intended to apply. But this Treaty contemplates opera- 169 tions by land; it provides that Treaties shall be made with the chiefs, and that, if it should be necessary, operations are to be carried on on shore for the purpose of enforcing those Treaties. To show Her Majesty's Government that I am not now speaking in any spirit of party feeling, I will say that I am glad to see these portions of the Treaty—and for two reasons. In the first place, because they contemplate a renewal of those operations by land for the destruction of the baracoons, and of those endeavours to engage chiefs by Treaty to give up the Slave Trade which we made in 1841 — measures which, as I think, are eminently conducive to checking the Slave Trade; but I think that these provisions will have another effect most advantageous to England and France, and most likely to promote a permanent good understanding between the two countries. Great complaints have recently been made of some proceedings of the French Government in multiplying their settlements on the coast of Africa, and, where those settlements are established, of excluding, as it is conceived, British commerce. The French people entertain a similar jealousy of the multiplication of our settlements. I consider this Treaty as binding both countries to abstain from making any further settlements on any part of the coast of Africa included in the limits prescribed by the Treaty — fifteen degrees north, and sixteen degrees south. The Convention provides that Treaties shall be made with the native chiefs, and that those Treaties shall be exclusively confined to the suppression of the Slave Trade; that such Treaties, when concluded by an officer of either country, must be approved by the Representative of the other Power; and that no operations on land are to be undertaken in virtue of these Treaties, except with the consent of both parties. Now, I think, any compact which tends to leave that part of the coast of Africa intact, and prevent either party from encroaching to the detriment or exclusion of the other, must tend to benefit the commerce of both nations, and to prevent occurrences—such as those in the river Gaboon—which might tend to disturb the harmony existing between the two countries. But there is one stipulation of the Convention which I really do not understand. It is said in Article 3—The Officers of Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ire- 170 land, and of His Majesty the King of the French, having respectively the command of the squadrons of Great Britain and France, to be employed in carrying out this Convention, shall concert together as to the best means of watching strictly the parts of the African coast before described, by selecting and defining the stations, and committing the care thereof to English and French cruisers, jointly or separately, as may be deemed expedient; provided always, that in case of a station being especially committed to the charge of cruisers of either nation, the cruisers of the other nation may at any time enter the same for the purpose of exercising the rights respectively belonging to them, for the suppression of the Slave Trade.This seems to me to draw a distinction between cruisers and merchantmen. It seems by this, that when there is a cruiser of one nation stationed at the mouth of a river, or in the bight of a bay, that no merchantmen of the other country can come in, for the purposes of its legitimate trade; because it is said, that when the cruiser of one nation takes its station, it may be lawful for the cruiser of the other nation to enter the same, "for the purpose of exercising the rights respectively belonging to them, for the suppression of the Slave Trade." Why put in that at all? Is it meant that the cruisers should establish a belligerent blockade? It is not the best means of watching the coast: it does not contemplate hostile operations. It is part of a general system that is to be in operation; and yet you say, that when the cruisers of one nation are watching the Slave Trade, that you stand in such a position as to require a special stipulation in your Treaty, to enable the cruisers of one nation to enter the same place where the cruisers of the other are stationed. It appears to me, that unless you can give a sufficient explanation to that Article, that by implication merchantmen are excluded from entering the place where a cruiser is stationed. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will be able to explain that. I say that such is an objectionable arrangement; and that the result is, that you have given up rights which, I contend, were proved by numerous facts to be essential, useful, and proper; and that you have got no proper equivalent in lieu of them. I own, too, that I have an objection to the form in which this Treaty appears. It is one that I very much regret to see. The preamble states—Her Majesty the Queen of the United 171 Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and His Majesty the King of the French, considering that the Conventions of the 30th November, 1831, and the 22nd March, 1833, have effected their object in preventing the use of the English and French flags in carrying on the Slave Trade; but that this odious traffic still exists, and that the said Conventions are insufficient to ensure its complete suppression.Is it meant then—has a British Plenipotentiary been found to put this upon record—that the British flag has been used for the purposes of slavery — that such a practice prevailed, and that it was put an end to by the Treaty of 1831, and by the action of French cruisers? I say, Sir, it is a foul calumny on the British nation. The British Slave Trade was put an end to by the laws of England long before your Treaty of 1831 or 1833. The Slave Trade of France was put an end to by the Treaties of 1831 and 1833. If it were thought uncivil to France to record that fact in the Treaty—if it were thought unhandsome to remind France how recently she had ceased to take part in the traffic, then you should have omitted all mention of the subject — you should have suppressed it altogether; but never would I have put my hand to an implied falsehood which casts dishonour on my country—never consented to that, which, by implication, would affirm that the Slave Trade had been carried on so lately by this country, as in 1831 and 1833, and that the Treaty with France had prevented the abuse of the English flag. I say, that it was unworthy of a British Minister—of a British Plenipotentiary, whether a Minister in or out of office, to have given his signature to such a statement—and nothing more astonishes me, than that this should be done by one of the persons who has put his name to such a falsehood— falsehood by implication — and a calumnious imputation upon his country. Then there is Article 9. What does Article 9 say? It says—Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingom of Great Britain and Ireland, and His Majesty the King of the French, mutually engage to continue the prohibition for ever of all Slave Trade in the Colonies which they possess, or may hereafter possess; and also to prevent, as far as the laws of each country shall permit, their respective subjects from being engaged, directly or indirectly, in this traffic.How could any man read that Article, and not imagine that slavery still existed in the 172 British Colonies? because to say that you will prevent the Slave Trade in Colonies where no such thing as slavery exists, is a gross and palpable absurdity. What is the meaning of that? The meaning of that is, that there is such a disposition in the British Parliament and British nation to re-enact slavery, and to legalize the Slave Trade, that it was necessary for the Crown to interfere, and enter into an engagement with France, declaring that the powers of the Crown should be exercised, and the honour of the Crown pledged to prevent the Parliament and the country from pursuing so disgraceful a course. This, I say, is an insult to Parliament, and an insult to the people of England. And if the former passage is a gross calumny on the country, I say that this is a childish insult to Parliament; and never would I have put my hand to these two passages. I must express my astonishment that the Government should have permitted their Plenipotentiary to put his hand to two such passages as these. These are my objections to this Treaty; and I think it shows on the part of the Government indifference to the subject of the Slave Trade, and a weakness in dealing with Foreign Powers, unworthy of the Government of this country. Nor are these two defects confined to this Treaty. I read, with some pain, and, I may add, I really felt some difficulty and reluctance in going through those Papers—the Slave Trade Correspondence of last year which has been laid on the Table. In many parts of it I was tempted to throw the book away in which it was contained. I must remark that they were somewhat delayed in their appearance; and I think they might as well have been produced earlier, and at the same time, perhaps, less bulky in form. In the first place, I may say, that according to the time they have been produced, the despatches dated last January will, according to the mode adopted with respect to them, not be laid before Parliament before the month of June next year. I think they might be produced nearer the time at which they were written; and I may also observe that whole passages are taken up with letters that are on matters of form, such as returns relative to ships' warrants. I think shorter entries of them might have been made; for the bulk of the volume is calculated to discourage persons from reading it. I say, that these are of a nature to deter persons from reading the correspondence; but to any one who has read it, there appears a great indifference 173 on the part of the Government, and even a great apathy. I think that they prove the most erroneous concessions made, and the lowest tone adopted in dealing with every Foreign Power with which the Government is brought into contact. I am not going to weary the House with many details; but the instance of one or two examples will be sufficient to demonstrate what I mean. We have, by Treaty, Consuls and Commissioners in almost every slave-dealing country. We have for instance, a Consul at the Havanna, and a Slave Trade Commissioner. Our Consuls General, in many parts of the world, are our sole Ministerial Representatives. Be he whom he may, every Consul is entitled to make to the authorities on the spot, and he is there to make, by virtue of his power, representations for the protection of British subjects and British trade, and to take care that the rights of this country are not violated. Then there are our Slave Trade Commissioners; they are intrusted not merely to adjudicate upon the cases that may come before them, but to make representations of all infractions of Treaties that may come to their knowledge. They were ordered to do that by myself; they were ordered to do that by my successor. The Consul General at the Havanna, and the Slave Trade Commissioners were continually, it appears, obtaining knowledge of contraventions of the Slave Treaties—of the landing of negroes—of the sale of slaves, of the arrival of negroes—of the detention of British subjects, who were not slaves—of the ill treatment of the Emancipados—of those entitled to their freedom, but treated as slaves. They were in the habit of making communications to the Governors of Cuba to this effect; and good Governors were obliged to them for the information, and acted on it; and bad Governors, who were the most numerous, were in the habit of thanking them too, but telling them that theirs was inaccurate information, and they might set their minds at ease on the subject; but still they always treated the Consuls civilly. Lately, however, there came General O'Donnell, a gentleman who thought that the Government of Cuba ought to contribute to the rapid accumulation of his fortune, and he therefore determined to go at once head over heels into the corrupt practices of his predecessors. He took slaves without stint; he took so many dollars a-head for the value of the slaves which were imported in violation of the Treaties; and he refused to 174 be troubled on the subject. I find that these representations of the Consul General and of the Slave Trade Commissioners were very irksome; and it is very probable that for all these there was a lithographed answer; but still these representations were constant—they made a noise. General O'Donnell looked into the old Records, and he found an obsolete Proclamation of 1760, by which it was declared that the Consuls General in Spanish Colonies should only act in their commercial, and not in their diplomatic capacity; and being for a strict adherence to Treaties, he thought that the Commissioners who had to adjudicate should confine themselves solely to their judicial duties—that they had not to inquire as to negroes landed, as to ships going to Africa, and returning from it. He told them, therefore, that he was very sorry; but they had better not write to him, because they had no right to interfere in these matters. They wanted only to perform their duty; and how necessary it was for them to do so, is proved by the case of the unfortunate Consul at St. Jago de Cuba, who, in writing to the Foreign Office for instructions, received a severe reprimand—there was conveyed to him "the censure," for that was the word employed, "the censure of Her Majesty's Government," for even doubting on this subject, and for not having made at once representations to the Governor of the province. The Consul General, and the officers of the Mixed Commission, did make such communications. At last the Governor, finding these communications constantly coming to him, very civilly returned the letters. On the next occasion they wrote, and the letters were again returned; and so it goes on—the unfortunate Consul and Commissioner are placed in a situation most repugnant to their feelings. They are subjected to degradation. They beg to be restored to that footing on which they ought to stand. At once our Government takes the matter up. It writes a strong letter to Madrid, and desires that orders may be given to the Governor of Cuba, not only to receive these letters, but to act on them. The Government at Madrid seems to have a great respect for its Cuba Governor. In answer to the peremptory demand that orders should be given to the Spanish Governor, the Government of Madrid says that it will give no such orders—that by an old custom of Spain, Consuls have no such right in its Colonies as that claimed for England—it 175 says that Governor O'Donnell has acted perfectly right—and then, mixing with this declaration some uncivil language to England, it comes at last to this result, that when the Consul General, or the Member of the Mixed Commission, should find out that negroes had been landed at Matanzas, within a very short distance of where they were placed, and where the negroes are sold, instead of telling that to the Governor, and so having an immediate inquiry, the Consul General should write to London; that the Foreign Office should then write to Madrid; and then those in Madrid should write to Cuba; and then, upon the letter at last getting back to Cuba, he might at once say—"Oh! this is false—this happened a year ago—it is impossible any such thing can have happened—there can be no ground for making such a charge." To such a proposition as that there was a ready answer, if any answers were given to the Spanish Government; but no reply appears from these Papers. I presume, then, that the Government acquiesced in this refusal; that they have assented to that for the neglect of which the Consul at St. Jago de Cuba was censured. I presume, then, that the Government has submitted to that great alteration in the international usages of Europe. And as it is proper that the Consul General and the Member of the Mixed Commission should not make communications of this kind—if that is the notion, then at least it is the bounden duty of the Government to tell the Consul General and the Mixed Commissioner to withdraw by a formal order from displeasing General O'Donnell. There is nothing, indeed, said of it in this book; and, for aught we know, they are still going on sending, week after week, letters to the Governor General, who civilly answers them that he can receive no communication from them; and thus are they both left, exciting contempt for their position, suffering indignities, and becoming the laughing-stock of the whole island. This is one thing that appears by this book. The Government abandons its first demand, and its servants are left to submit themselves to the goodwill and pleasure of the Government of Spain. Passing from Cuba to Surinam, a great number of British-born subjects have, at different periods, been carried into Surinam, and detained there in slavery, contrary to the existing law. Their number is stated to amount to five or six thousand. I have stated before that these persons were entitled to their freedom. The Queen's Advocate says 176 the contrary. I say that his opinion is wrong. It may appear to be presumptuous in me to differ from any one who has devoted himself to the study of the law; but I say his opinion is bad in law, as much so as it is bad in theory and essentially unjust. These negroes were illegally carried out of a British Colony to the Colony of a Foreign Power. If they had remained, as by law they were entitled to remain in a British Colony, they would at this moment be in the possession of their freedom. I say it is not just that British subjects should suffer from an act in which they had no share whatever, and of which they were the unwilling and unfortunate victims. A demand was made as to an inquiry into cases of this sort. Our Commissioner at Surinam made an application to the Dutch Governor. This gentleman, Mr. Elias, appears to have been more civil and less money-making than General O'Donnell. He, too, thought applications irksome; perhaps he had heard of what had occurred at Cuba. He did not return the letters. He first wrote an answer to say he would take no notice of them, and the Commissioners' Judges persevering in writing letters, they were left unanswered. The Commissioners complained of the great indignity that was put upon them. They wrote to the Government at home for support in the performance of the duties imposed upon them. On this our Government wrote to the Government at the Hague to demand definite instructions. The urgent demand subsequently declined into an earnest hope, and our Government went on hoping through a whole year, during which it was unable to extract even a verbal answer. In Cuba our letters are sent back unanswered, and the Government at Madrid refuses to give orders to its Governor to attend to them; in Surinam, our letters are received in silence, the Government of the Hague treats Downing Street in the same way. Indeed, these negotiations with Spain prove, that so long as Governor O'Donnell remains at Cuba, all chance of a fair and faithful execution of Treaties is hopeless. At the present moment the evil is undeniable; and for that very reason it appears that General O'Donnell has been continued at Cuba, and, I believe, is likely to remain there. I need not trouble the House to go further to show the feebleness in remonstrance, and the want of vigour that has been displayed in making representations, in the submission to the unjust decisions of the French Government, and the apathetic indifference 177 to those great matters which have so long engaged the attention, and excited the wishes of Parliament and the country. The right hon. Gentleman will probably tell me, "If you think so ill of the Government, if you consider it so little in earnest in the performance of its duty, why not take the sense of the House on the subject?" I know, Sir, very well that the Government has a majority of 100 when the House is full, and a proportionate majority when the House is less full. I perfectly well know if I were to propose a Resolution, that it would be negatived by a large majority. I do not see that it is necessary for me to please the Government by moving a Resolution for the purpose of its being negatived. I do not, Sir, address these matters to this House. I know full well that no arguments of mine could change the opinions of a majority of this House on a question involving the conduct of the Government. Sir, I address myself to the people of this country—I now address myself to the nation. I am quite sure that the feelings of this country are the same now that they long have been on this subject of the Slave Trade. I am quite sure that there is no abatement in their zeal, no diminution in the desires of the people to put it down. I would beg, if it were not so—I would beg of the people of this country to consider the lessons that history teaches. I am quite sure that if you look to the actions and fate of individual men, that you will sometimes find that evil does not meet with its appropriate punishment here. It is, however, the exception:—Rarò antecedentem scelestumDeseruit pede pæna claudo.But, though there may be exceptions as to this rule, and in another state of being individuals are made accountable for their deeds on this earth, with nations it is different. The life of nations is mixed up with the arrangements and dispositions of this world; and history teaches us that the crimes of nations never fail to meet with their appropriate punishment. The superficial, when they read of the worst state of a nation—of tyranny within, of invasion from without—of murders, of massacre, of the devastation of towns, of the destruction of villages, of all these horrors accumulated upon each other—may ascribe these to immediately preceding circumstances; and in their shallow views, may seek to connect them as cause and effect; but the more 178 philosophic will look at these things in another aspect—will trace out in the calamities that befall a nation, the punishment of its former offences, and the just visitation of its former crimes. I do not ask of the people of this country to suppose that it is permitted to them to open a species of debtor and creditor account on these matters, for the good they have done, and the evil they have permitted; but I say this, that as men, they have duties to perform; that those duties do not consist in merely abstaining from evil, but in doing as much good as they can; and that from those who have great power, and are possessed of great influence, the more is to be expected as to the good within their power to achieve. This country stands in a preeminent position; and great, therefore, is its responsibility on this subject. This country has great power and political influence for the accomplishment of this great object. We not only possess great means, but we are invested with great rights, which we have acquired by Treaties; great rights, which we are bound to enforce to put an end to this monstrous and calamitous traffic. I say, that the people of this country will not perform the duties that belong to them as responsible men, if they do not urge upon the Government—if urging it requires—and if they do not encourage the Government—if encouragement be wanting—to enforce all the means that exist, and to exert all the legislative powers and influence of this country, to compel the enforcement of those rights; the rights that by Treaty have been acquired for the purpose of extinguishing this diabolical crime. The Government should be supported heartily, if it require support, and it should be urged, if it require pressure, by the people of this country, to take those steps, which it can do without any danger to peace, and without any peril of failure, which it is authorized to take, and has the power to take, and it is its duty to take, to put an end to this abominable and accursed Slave Trade.
§ Sir R. Peel
Sir, towards the close of the speech of the noble Lord, he gave us the very unnecessary information, that it was not his intention to propose any Resolution by which the opinion of the House would be taken as to the policy of the late Treaty with France on the subject of the Slave Trade. Sir, I greatly doubt the soundness of the policy of the noble Lord. If he has a strong opinion upon the subject, I think he ought to have disregarded 179 the probability of his being in a minority. It is not a question whether the Resolution is to give me a triumph or not; but I think it was a more correct course, which men who have stood in the position of the noble Lord have taken, who, entertaining strong feelings on a question, have disregarded the probability of their being in a minority; but, for the purpose of producing an effect upon public opinion, they have recorded their opinions, and have not contented themselves with Motions for the names of witnesses, or the evidence taken in a case. That is not the course of men who have strong feelings upon a subject; and as the noble Lord was discourteous enough to inform me, in the course of his speech, that whatever I might say, he would not give credit to it, I am justified in informing the noble Lord that I do not believe the reasons he has given for not bringing forward his Resolution. I believe it was not the knowledge of the small minority that deterred the noble Lord—it was because he knew that on this question many of those who concur with him in general politics would be sure not to agree with him in his condemnation of the Convention lately signed between this country and France. I believe it will be found that many are of opinion that we have made no compromise of the honour, no sacrifice of the interests of this country; that we have done that which I shall attempt to show, if our object is to suppress the Slave Trade, will be a better instrument for the purpose than the Convention signed by the noble Lord. I shall not adopt an apologetic tone. I shall not say that in the circumstances of the public feeling of France, we were obliged to sacrifice this and that minor point. I shall demonstrate that the Convention which has been recently signed, presents a better prospect of cordial co-operation of the second great maritime Power in Europe with us in the suppression of the Slave Trade, than if we had refused to agree to this Commission, and rested on the Treaty of 1834. I rest my defence of this Commission not on the deference that was due to the excited state of public feeling in France. I consider it a cause of congratulation that we have substituted an efficient instrument for one that, in the present state of feeling in France, never could have been made efficient at all. I consider it no matter of apology but of congratulation, that we have now a better prospect of suppressing this odious traffic than any that has opened upon this coun- 180 try of late years. Allow me, Sir, before I come to that which is really the subject matter of controversy between the noble Lord and myself—allow me to state in what respect I agree with him. I agree with him, in thinking that it would be unfortunate if this country were to relax in its efforts for the suppression of the Slave Trade. It would be difficult to calculate the results of a total forbearance on the part of this country, and, of course, on the part of every other, from making vigorous efforts for the suppression of the Slave Trade on the coast of Africa. I believe that the trade would be increased in a very great degree: and when we look at the success which our former efforts have achieved, we ought not alone to look at the good we have accomplished; but we ought to bear in mind the extent of the evils and the calamities we have prevented. I am not sure if I concur with the noble Lord in thinking that the suppression of the Slave Trade would lead to the suppression of the status of slavery. I agree with the noble Lord in thinking that the suppression of the Slave Trade would have a material effect on the amelioration of the condition of the slave. If we could impress upon the mind of the slaveholders the knowledge that they would not have the means of increasing the number of their slaves by foreign supply, then, not from humane motives, but from the sordid motives by which slaveholders are actuated, they would provide better treatment at least for their female slaves, and possibly an amelioration in the condition of slaves in general. I wish to remind the House, that though the United States have suppressed the Slave Trade, yet slavery is still in existence in that country; and I do not believe that the extinction of the state of slavery in the United States will ever arise from the mere suppression of the Slave Trade. It may, and I believe must increase the attention of slaveholders to the breeding of slaves; but the mere suppression of the Slave Trade will not destroy slavery. I look to the extinction of the status of slavery in the United States with confidence, from the contact which the slaves are brought into with freedom, in the degree of illumination and knowledge which they must thence derive: but, above all, I can never believe that our example, and the condition of the free labourers in the West Indies, which must become known to them from the increasing intercourse which is sure to take place between those 181 two parts of the world, our Colonial possessions and the United States—I can hardly believe that, with such an intercourse as this, slavery can stand as one of the permanent institutions of the United States. I regret to hear the tone and temper with which the noble Lord spoke of Portugal. I believe that Portugal is now zealous and cordial in co-operating with us for the suppression of the Slave Trade. The mere observance of the Treaties might be all that we could require; but it must be obvious that much of the success of those Treaties depends upon the cordiality with which they are gone into; and from the recent experience we have had of the conduct of Portugal, I think it is scarcely right of the noble Lord to say that all their cordiality is owing to compulsion. I think that by the removal of governors who were unfavourable to the due execution of the Treaty—by the promotion of naval officers who had shown a desire to carry out the Treaty—Portugal has shown a desire cordially and freely to concur with us. I trust the House will feel that the position in which I stand in replying to the noble Lord, without having had any precise notice of the object of his Motion, is one of some difficulty; because the correspondence to which the noble Lord has referred was not immediately conducted by myself. Of course upon all material points connected with the Slave Trade, I may be presumed to be informed; but the noble Lord has ranged through several volumes of the correspondence, going from one year to another, which makes it difficult for a person who did not himself conduct the correspondence, to answer him upon every point. The noble Lord has referred again—for I shall dispose of these matters before I come to the main point—the noble Lord has referred again to the negroes in Surinam. The noble Lord, with his usual complacency, and, perhaps, with a justifiable confidence in his own opinion, says "it is true that the Queen's Advocate has given a legal opinion, but I will venture to say that it is wrong in point of law." Now, without wishing to undervalue the legal skill of the noble Lord, it is clear that the Queen's Advocate is the person whom we ought to consult. [Viscount Palmerston: The Law Officers of the Crown.] The noble Lord says, as both have been consulted, that the law both of the Law Officers and of the Queen's Advocate, is wrong. The noble Lord must excuse me if, with all due deference to him, I, as a general 182 rule, prefer the opinion of the Queen's Advocate upon questions of international law to that of the noble Lord. I stated this the other night when the subject was before mentioned; and I added, that as the noble Lord had stated that a number of slaves in Surinam were entitled to their freedom as British subjects, I was determined that no opinion of the Queen's Advocate, or of any other officer of the Crown, should prejudice the Government as to the course they would ultimately take; but I would take care that the grounds of the noble Lord's opinion should be well considered before any final resolve was come to; and, if on mature consideration, Her Majesty's Government saw cause to believe that an erroneous opinion had been given, I was determined that no person should continue to be deprived of that liberty to which he was entitled for the sake of a consistent adherence to such opinion. That promise I have fulfilled, and I have directed that that opinion shall be reconsidered; for I agree that the liberty of man, whether black or white, is far too serious a question to be made dependent upon anything like Ministerial consistency; and I say again, that if any opinion that has been given to the Government, and upon which the Government has acted, disentitling any man to that liberty which he is entitled to claim; so far from thinking it any shame to retract that opinion, I shall be proud to acknowledge the error, and to restore the man so unjustly detained in slavery to freedom. So much as to the case of the negroes of Surinam. Then, as to that of the Imaum of Muscat, and the relations of France with that Potentate. I do not deny the right of the noble Lord to introduce this subject, neither do I say that it is not important. The noble Lord said, at the beginning of his speech, that a Treaty was lately entered into between France and the Imaum of Muscat, which enabled France to take the subjects of the Imaum, and consign them to slavery; and he charitably supposes that the reason why France has not extended the operation of the Convention recently entered into with England to the eastern coast of Africa, was to enable her to carry on this traffic. Of course it is free to the noble Lord to speak of France in what terms he pleases; but he will permit me to say, that I do not think it conduces to the maintenance of amicable relations between this country and France, that he should seize upon every opportunity to speak of that country in such disparaging terms; 183 and in making the statement I am now alluding to it, would have been no more than fair if the noble Lord had quoted the whole of the document on which he says it is founded. The noble Lord referred to a letter written by the Commissioner at the Caps of Good Hope, to show that France had made a Treaty with the Imaum of Muscat, to enable her to carry away the subjects of that Potentate, and place them in a state of slavery in the island of Bourbon. [An hon. Member: In the same state as the Hill Coolies.] But the Hill Coolies we do not admit to be in a state of positive slavery. Great care is taken for their protection, and unless precautions were taken, there would be great danger of abuse. But what is the statement in the letter to which the noble Lord has referred? It is to the effect that—They had learned that slaves were brought to the island of Bourbon, but that there were no exports of slaves; but they had heard of a French ship of war, the commander of which had concluded a Treaty with the Imaum of Muscat, for the purpose of transporting the subjects of the latter as labourers into Bourbon.I infer the noble Lord supposes that to mean to place them in a state of slavery. I do not mean to say that full inquiry ought not to be made whether that arrangement is altogether compatible with our Treaties with the Imaum of Muscat; but I think it was only proper that the noble Lord should have read the whole of it, when he quoted it to show that France was dooming the persons so transported from the territories of the Imaum, to slavery. The concluding portion of the extract which the noble Lord had omitted to read was this—I do not mean to say there might not be more opportunities for abuse in this arrangement than in that under which Hill Coolies are imported into our Colonies, nor do I mean to say that the transaction is one that can be justified; but what I say is, that the noble Lord, in making the charge, should have read the whole of the document. The letter says—Unfortunately, I have not been able to procure a copy of the instrument, but I believe it contains stipulations which take away all pretence for supposing that it involves any infraction of the Treaty entered into between England and the Imaum of Muscat.The noble Lord read the first part of the letter, but he altogether overlooked the passage which stated that there were conditions inserted which took away all pre- 184 tence of any infraction of our Treaties. The letter further stated—My informant states, that under the condition of this Treaty it is probable that the condition of the labourers so hired will be materially improved, as they are to be sent back after a time with the money they may have earned, and perhaps with the knowledge of some trade, and with habits of industry and civilization which will be of great advantage to them afterwards.[Viscount Palmerston: I read that, and made a comment on it.] I beg the noble Lord's pardon. This part of the letter the noble Lord did not advert to, but he referred to the letter generally, and accused us of remissness, because we had not insisted on the observance of our Treaties with the Imaum of Muscat. I am bound to say it is one evil — compensated for by a superior amount of good no doubt—but it is one evil of the position in which we stand in our relations with other countries in regard to the suppression of the Slave Trade, that it is continually liable to involve us in angry correspondence with those countries. The noble Lord says we have shown tameness in our remonstrances. This is one of them, and as a specimen of that tame submission to Spain, and that unwillingness to offend her feelings, which the noble Lord says characterizes the policy of the present Government. Lord Aberdeen writes to Mr. Bulwer, the British Minister at Madrid, thus:—The bribes which the authorities of Cuba have for many years received for upholding the Slave Trade of that island have been well known, and have been pointed out to the Government of Spain, and they have been often urged to put a stop to these iniquities. The precise sum given for each slave, the officers among whom it was divided, and the proportion in which it was shared, were notorious. The Spanish Government have not been able to deny those facts, although they have asserted that it has not been from any neglect of duty on the part of the authorities that the Slave Trade was kept up. But it has been proved, that when the Government of Her Catholic Majesty appointed a person of honour and integrity to be Governor of Cuba, and one who undertook the high functions entrusted to him with other views than those of enriching himself and his associates by a corrupt connivance at the crimes which he was appointed to repress, that trade speedily declined, and indeed had almost ceased to exist. A change, however, was made in the government of the island, and the iniquitous traffic is again in full vigour, notoriously encouraged, and almost openly defended, by the man to whom Her 185 Catholic Majesty's Government have confided the interests and honour of the Colony, and the duty of watching over the faithful discharge of an engagement solemnly entered into by the Crown of Spain. It is for the Spanish Government alone to consider what may be the consequences of a perseverance in such conduct on the part of its Colonial authorities, so far as the welfare of the Colony is concerned. Were it the sole object of Her Majesty's Government to see the liberation of the slaves in Cuba accomplished, no matter by what means, or at what cost of blood and social order, they could hardly wish a more certain course to be pursued than that which, during the past year, the Government at Madrid have permitted, if not sanctioned, in those officers. It is, however, the earnest prayer of Her Majesty's Government that the fearful catastrophe with which Cuba is threatened may yet be averted. But whatever measures with this view the Spanish Government may in its prudence adopt, the flagrant violations of the Treaties with Great Britain which are almost daily perpetrated in Cuba, and the equivocations and false statements with which the remonstrances of Her Majesty's servants have been met by the Representatives of the Spanish Crown, give Her Majesty's Government the right to require that effectual means shall be taken to put an end to these acts, and to prove that they are not committed under the authority of the Government at Madrid. It is the conviction of Her Majesty's Government, that the honourable observance of the Treaty of 1835 is impossible, unless the penal law prescribed by it shall be enacted and enforced, and unless General O'Donnell shall be recalled from the Government of Cuba.That is the remonstrance we made to Spain in regard to the conduct of General O'Donnell. Unfortunately, it often unavoidably happens that the correspondence laid before Parliament in reference to the Slave Trade is incomplete. It frequently occurs that the countries with which we are in communication are so distant, that the correspondence upon any particular subject is not concluded at the end of the year, when the Papers are made up; and since I came into the House a despatch has been handed to me, written in 1845, on the subject to which the noble Lord has spoken, as having been brought in question by General O'Donnell—the right of our Consuls to make representations to the Governor of Cuba—and which shows that that subject has not been unattended to by the Government. But the communications made in 1845 are not included in the Papers before the House, which reach only to the end of 1844; and those Papers, taken singly, therefore, give but an imperfect view of the correspondence. And 186 with regard to the case of the slaves in Surinam — that of the Imaum of Muscat—and with regard, also, to the conduct of General O'Donnell, and his charge of improper conduct on the part of our Consuls—I repeat that I have only a general knowledge of those transactions; and if, in the absence of the whole of the details, I do not give as full and as satisfactory an answer as may be desired, I trust the House will not suppose we have been neglectful of the honour or the interests of the country, or take up erroneous opinions from the insufficiency of the explanation I am in a condition to give. I now proceed to address myself to what I understand to be the main subject of the noble Lord's Motion. I never certainly expected that the noble Lord would persevere in calling for any expression of opinion on the part of the House upon the policy of Her Majesty's Government in regard to the recent Convention with France; but I did infer from the noble Lord's notice, that he intended to bring that subject under the attention of the House, and that that was the main object of his Motion. Now, Sir, in the first place, let me say again, that I have no apology to offer on the part of the Government in respect to that Convention. I believe that Convention is a wise and prudent measure, and that it furnishes you with a more efficacious instrument for suppressing the Slave Trade, through the kindly co-operation of France, than you would have had if that Convention had never been signed, and your Treaties only remained in force. The noble Lord has referred in strong terms to the refusal of France to ratify the Treaty of 1841 after she had signed it. Is, then, the noble Lord of opinion that that refusal on the part of France to ratify, after signing the Treaty, was a cause for war? [Viscount Palmerston: No.] The noble Lord says he does not consider it a sufficient cause for war; but be tells us that we tamely acquiesced in that refusal to ratify, and that we made no remonstrance to the French Government on the subject. Now the noble Lord must excuse me for saying that his statement in this respect is utterly and entirely without foundation. I agree with the noble Lord that the refusal to ratify was an act almost unprecedented; and an act calculated to establish a bad precedent for the future. I admit, it was an act against which we had a perfect right to remonstrate; but I agree with the noble Lord that it was not 187 a cause for war. The question then is, did we protest against that act, and did we remonstrate with the Government of France on the subject? The noble Lord challenges me to an inquiry, as to what was the cause of the refusal of the Executive Government of France to ratify. He says the clamour in the French Chamber against the ratification was a purely factitious one; and again, though the popular assembly of France in three successive years—in 1842, in 1843, and again in the year 1844—coincided by a unanimous vote in their objection to ratify, and required that efforts should be made by the Government to modify the existing Convention as to the Right of Search, the noble Lord states that this expression of opinion on the part of the Chamber, was nothing more than the clamour of the slave traders, who were anxious still to be able to carry on the Slave Trade. I have heard the noble Lord say that the Slave Trade was extinguished in France—that the subjects of France do not now carry it on. I believe that is the fact; and I do think the noble Lord is doing great injustice to the feelings of that country—erroneous and unfounded as I believe that feeling to have been—when he states that the only and the sole ground of their objection, on the part of the French Chamber, to the Right of Search, and the Treaty of 1841, repeated, as it had been, during three successive years, was founded on a desire to carry on this infamous traffic. I agree with the noble Lord in thinking that the feeling of France against the Right of Search was unfounded; but I do not concur with him as to the source from which that feeling arose. I believe it arose rather out of the irritated state of the public mind, occasioned by the events in Syria, than out of any desire to carry on the Slave Trade. The noble Lord says, that in 1841 I showed a disposition to support the then Government in its Syrian policy; and the noble Lord has also referred to the cordial aid I gave him in carrying through his measures for suppressing the Slave Trade. The noble Lord only does us justice. I was not disposed in 1842 to inquire too minutely as to how the state of things, which it was the object of the noble Lord to meet, had arisen; but having aided him, as he says, in his measures for removing the difficulties that had occurred, I think it is scarcely fair for the noble Lord now to turn round and make that support a matter of charge against me. I 188 will not, as I said, inquire how that feeling in the public mind in France, which led to the non-ratification of the Treaty of 1841 arose—not that I want to insinuate any blame to the noble Lord—but we found that such a feeling did pervade the public mind, and was expressed on the part of the popular assembly of that country, and that the Executive Government of France acting, as we believed, honestly and with good faith towards Her Majesty's Government, did experience a difficulty on account of that popular feeling in ratifying that Treaty. I believe it was the desire of the French Government honestly and fairly to ratify it, if they could have done so. It would have been inconsistent with their dignity, and with their position, to have sought means to evade the ratification of that Treaty. I believe the cause the French Government assigned was the real and honest one; and in a country where the Executive Government is necessarily controlled by the acts and opinions of the popular assembly and popular opinion, they had not the power of performing that which I think they should have performed. The question would have been altered if, having signed the Treaty, they had sought the means of escaping by subterfuge its ratification. The question for us to consider was, was the reason given by the French Government for the non-ratification an honest one? I believe it was; and though we did right to remonstrate if it had been a case in which a recourse to hostilities would have been justifiable, it still would have been an element in our consideration whether the Executive Government of France was acting honestly towards this country, or merely assigning a pretence for not ratifying, after having signed, the Treaty, in their refusal after the debate in the French Chamber. After the signature of the Treaty, M. Guizot proposed that the protocols should be left open, and that some modification should be admitted. To this we gave a positive refusal. The noble Lord said we tamely acquiesced, and offered no remonstrance. I cannot think that any tameness was evinced, nor could we have stated our objections in stronger terms and plainer terms than we used. Lord Aberdeen, writing to Lord Cowley at Paris, on the 12th of February, 1842, speaking of the non-ratification of the Treaty by France, says:—The consequence of the decision of the French Government, if it should be final, ap- 189 peared to Her Majesty's Government to be pregnant with mischief, and more injurious to the exercise of the Royal prerogative in France than anything that had occurred of late years; it would shake the confidence of Foreign States in the engagements of the French Government; and the inconsistency was the more striking inasmuch as the Cabinet of the Tuileries had joined in the invitation to the three other Powers to become parties to the Treaty.If the noble Lord had penned that remonstrance, could he have communicated it in more emphatic, and at the same time in more dignified language? Unless we should have been justified in taking hostile proceedings, all threats and all menaces were out of the question. We stated that we would not be parties to the transaction, that we would not acquiesce in it, that we thought it dangerous, and we remonstrated against it; but if we did not resort to hostilities any menace would have been unseemly and improper. Lord Aberdeen went on to say—The proposed alterations in themselves were confessedly of little value—For there had been slight concessions proposed wills the view of conciliating public feeling in France, and, by means of this conciliation, obtaining the ratification of the Treaty.The proposed alterations in themselves were confessedly of little value; but they became of weight from their origin and from the motives which led to them: what M. Guizot called national susceptibilities as to calumny and injustice, and which we called unfounded imputations.Could we have said more? Was there any tameness in this? It was possible that we might have obtained the ratification of the Treaty by a sacrifice of something to the wounded honour of France; but we said that "We will make no such concession, we feel that our cause is a just one, and we refuse to make the concession." Lord Aberdeen said—After the criminations which were made in such an assembly as the Chamber of Deputies of an interested disposition in the course we proposed, if there were only a suspicion entertained, it was impossible they could long be continued; and if they were the consequence of a hostile feeling, it could not be mitigated by concession. At all events, we could not purchase the ratification by these apparent concessions.Now, I appeal to the noble Lord himself whether, upon the refusal of the French 190 Government to ratify the Treaty, the grounds on which he stated that we abstained from all remonstrance have not been completely demolished. The French Government, however, refused to ratify that Treaty; France would not be a party to the Treaty of 1841, which she herself had signed. The three other Powers which signed that Treaty did ratify it; and the Treaty was still binding on the four Powers who were parties to it. The refusal of France to ratify that Treaty left the relations between this country and France, so far as Slave Trade Conventions were concerned, dependent upon two Conventions — the Convention of the year 1831, and the Convention of the year 1833. I need not, for the present purpose, allude more particularly to the Convention of 1833; it was supplementary to the Treaty of 1831; there were important provisions in the Convention of 1833, calculated to facilitate the execution of the former Treaty; but it did not increase the power within the zones in which the former Treaty could be exercised. The Treaty of 1831 gave a Right of Search, which we have been enabled to exercise, which we are now able to exercise, and which we shall be able to exercise till the recent Convention shall come into force. I appeal, however, to the House most strongly, and I shall be able to demonstrate, that the provisions of the recent Convention will prove more efficacious for the suppression of the Slave Trade, than a mere adherence to the provisions of the Convention of the year 1831. I presume it will be admitted that the Right of Search is not for itself, and per se, a good to this country. I presume it will be admitted that the value of the Right of Search depends upon its efficacy in the suppression of the Slave Trade. We do not ask for this right as a proof of our maritime supremacy—we do not ask for this right as conferring any advantage on our Colonies — we do not ask for it as giving us any triumph over France. The only efficacy in the institution is its power in suppressing the Slave Trade. If we adhere to the Right of Search, it will not be denied that its exercise is calculated to provoke irritated feelings; and, if we can substitute some other measure which is, at least, as effectual, is there a man in this country who would rigidly insist on maintaining this Right of Search, and refuse an equivalent? What, then, 191 is the Convention of the year 1831? The Convention of the year 1831 established a reciprocal Right of Search between this country and France; but it was not an universal Right of Search; it was limited, on the west coast of Africa, to that part of the coast which extends from Cape Verd, being, I believe, in about the 15th degree of north latitude, to the 10th degree of south latitude; but that part of the coast was not the whole of the west coast from which the Slave Trade was carried on. The Slave Trade with the Brazils is carried on several degrees to the south of the 10th degree. The Right of Search, then, was imperfect in this respect, that it was not a reciprocal Right of Search along the whole west coast of Africa, which is the seat of the Slave Trade. The Convention of 1831 gave no Right of Search on the east coast of Africa. The Convention of 1831 did not enable the British cruisers to interfere in the slightest degree with the transhipment of slaves from the territories of the Imaum of Muscat. So far as the east coast of Africa is concerned, there was no Right of Search. I will state fully what the right was. The right extended for twenty degrees round the Island of Madagascar, and it did extend also to certain districts on the coasts of Cuba, of Porto Rico, and of the Brazils. Did it, however, stipulate that the French should be bound to keep a certain number of vessels on the coast? No such thing. Warrants authorizing the Right of Search were to be issued by each country to the vessels of the other; but this country was not allowed to have more than double the number of warrants for French vessels. Now, suppose France should decline to apply for more than four warrants, undoubtedly this would be an evasion of the Treaty, unless there were strong grounds; but the Treaty was defective in that respect, because it limited the number of our own vessels to double those which France might think fit to keep for this purpose. The Treaty, therefore, placed the exercise of the powers under it entirely in the hands of France. It left France to determine the number of vessels which she would keep on the coast, and it precluded us from having more than double the number. Observe also, that the warrants are to be annually renewable. So that the right was given every year to France to fix, at her discretion, the number of 192 vessels. It is important, in discussing the present Treaty, to refer to the correspondence between the noble Lord and the French Government, at the period when the Treaty was made. The noble Lord, in the year 1831, asked the French Government to consent to an unlimited Right of Search. The French Government positively refused to accede to such a proposition. These were the reasons asserted by the French Ministry for that refusal. The noble Lord proposed to the French Government to concede to this country the exercise of a Right of Search, which was to be reciprocal to both countries. On the 7th of April, 1831, Count Sebastiani, in answering the proposal conveyed by Lord Granville said—The French Government had already repeatedly declared its reasons for refusing acquiescence in this proposal, and these reasons had lost none of their weight or importance. The exercise of a Right of Search in the time of peace was essentially contrary to the principle of the French law, and it would wound public opinion in France on a ground on which it was very sensitive.The noble Lord then directed Lord Granville to furnish the French Government with proofs of the great atrocities and cruelties with which the Slave Trade was carried on; and the French Government was invited to acquiesce in a qualified Right of Search. The French Government had, in that very year passed a law, authorizing the infliction of a punishment, and a very severe punishment, on all French subjects who should be concerned in the Slave Trade. It was admitted by Lord Granville and by the noble Lord, that so far as French subjects were concerned, that law would be effectual, and I believe it has been found effectual. The terms in which the noble Lord proposed a modified Right of Search were these:—His Majesty's Government are of opinion that a modified proposition on this subject might be made, which would sufficiently accomplish the object in view, without conflicting too much with the prejudices of the French naval service.He went on, therefore, to instruct Lord Granville as follows:—You will therefore propose that instead of establishing a general and permanent Right of Reciprocal Search, that each Government shall furnish to the cruisers of the other employed upon the African station, documents or instructions empowering them to search vessels, not being ships of war, within certain 193 degrees of latitude and longitude. These documents might be limited as to duration in time and extension of space. They might be given for three years, subject to renewal at the end of that time, or revocation during that period, should any abuse be found to result from them. It appears to His Majesty's Government that this partial and temporary experiment, which would still leave the question of Right of Search at all times under the control of the two Governments, would prove extremely useful, and would either remove objections to a permanent arrangement, or render it unnecessary.Instead of three years' duration for the warrants as proposed, their duration was limited to one year, thus giving to the French Government annually a discretion with respect to the issue of these warrants; and also a power of limiting the number of cruisers employed by the British Government, by limiting the number of cruisers which they (the French Government) employed. That letter was dated the 7th April, 1831, and on the 30th of April, the Convention was signed, the period of one year being substituted for three years. The noble Lord did, at the same time, make another and very important proposition to the French Government. The noble Lord now finds it convenient to depreciate the efficacy of the French squadron on the coast of Africa; but the noble Lord then urged on the French Government, if they would not consent to a general Right of Search, that they should send cruisers to the coast of Africa to co-operate with us; and these are the terms in which he then spoke of the probable efficacy of that instrument in suppressing the Slave Trade. The noble Lord said—If the objections to the Right of Search should, unfortunately, prove insurmountable, that then the French Government should be pressed strongly for some French ships of war being sent, without loss of time to the coast of Africa, to enforce the laws on all vessels bearing the French flag. To this proposition His Majesty's Government could not anticipate any objection; with such a squadron His Majesty's ships would be ordered cordially to co-operate; and that there was no reason to doubt that the united efforts of France and England, so exerted, would accomplish the object to which the two countries had mutually bound themselves by solemn engagements.Thus the noble Lord told the French Government that the Convention of 1831 was a partial and temporary experiment; and he also told them, that if the French Government sent to the coast of Africa a sufficient 194 quantity of cruisers with which our cruisers might co-operate, there was little doubt that, by the means of their joint efforts, the two countries might be enabled to attain the object they had in view. It was such a Convention, with such an explanation of motives, that we should have been left with in case no new Convention had been formed; and I now proceed to contrast the advantages we have, under the present Convention, with those we possessed under the former Convention. I admit to the noble Lord that we have relinquished, when this new Treaty comes into force, the Right of Search. For what was the Right of Search efficacious? Was it efficacious for the suppression of the Slave Trade carried on by French ships? I assert that the Slave Trade on the west coast of Africa, carried on by French ships, is at an end. It can be truly asserted, I believe, that French subjects do not carry on the Slave Trade in French ships. If they do, I admit that under this new Treaty we lose a power which we had under the Convention of 1831; but one of the reasons for adopting this new Convention is, that the Slave Trade carried on by the subjects of France, in French ships, is at an end. I make that assertion on these grounds:—According to returns of vessels condemned for carrying on the Slave Trade, furnished by a gentleman with whose name and abilities the noble Lord is acquainted (Mr. Rothery), the number of vessels condemned since the year 1819, amounts to no less than 6,398; and of these there are only thirteen which were French vessels, belonging to French subjects, carrying on the Slave Trade. Of these thirteen cases, eleven took place between 1819 and 1831. Since the latter period, only two cases fell within the cognizance of Mr. Rothery, of French vessels carrying on the Slave Trade, and which, under the Right of Search, we should have been enabled to visit and capture. They were called respectively the Senegambia and the Marie Anne. The Slave Trade carried on by the French upon the west coast of Africa, then, I contend, is at an end; and I believe that, in speaking of the Portuguese Treaty in 1839, the noble Lord himself admitted as much. I may add that Mr. Sturge, who recently visited the French Colony of Martinique, states that no slaves had been imported there since the accession of His Majesty the present King of the French. I now come to the abuse of the French flag; and I admit that, having abolished the Right of Search, we ought 195 to be cautious, in order that the French flag may not be abused by being assumed by the vessels of other nations carrying on the Slave Trade. What are the precautions we have got against this abuse? Let us compare the Convention of 1845 with the Convention of 1831. As I said before, the Convention of 1831 was limited to a portion only of the west coast of Africa, where the Slave Trade is carried on. Its operation extended only from Cape Verd to the 10th degree of south latitude; whereas the present Convention includes the whole of the west coast of Africa, from Cape Verd to the 16½ degree of south latitude. This includes the whole of the coast where the Slave Trade is carried on; for between the 16th or 17th degree of south latitude and the Cape of Good Hope, there is no opportunity of carrying on that trade. Consequently, there are subject to the operation of this new Convention, 6½ degrees of the west coast of Africa more than were subject to the operation of the Convention of 1831. What is our protection as to the abuse of the French flag by other parties? Have we conceded that right which we claim of visit, for the purpose of ascertaining whether or not vessels really have the national character which they assume? In this new Convention we have it admitted distinctly by the Government of France, that that right which the American Government was disposed to question, is a right sanctioned by the maritime law of nations. The instructions we have given to our cruisers convey distinct authority to exercise that Right of Visit; and these instructions are embodied in this Convention. They are referred to in the Eighth Article, and form an essential part in the theory of the whole agreement. There is, therefore, an admission on the part of the French that the cruisers of this country, seeing a ship under French colours, under suspicious circumstances, have a right, unaffected by the Convention, of ascertaining the national character of that vessel—[Viscount Palmerston; There is nothing new in that—we had that right already.] We have thus the means of preventing any abuse of the French flag. Then let us look to the instructions given to the French cruisers. The French law of piracy is even a stricter one than our own. The noble Lord spoke of vessels carrying double sets of papers—double commissions from different Powers—[Sir C. Napier: Quite a common practice.] The hon. and gallant Gentleman says it is quite a common practice. Well, 196 by the French law, it is a piracy. The noble Lord has spoken of a suspicious ship, not being a French vessel, but carrying French colours: our Right of Visit, in such a case, is admitted by France. It is a right that we have long claimed, but which is only now formally admitted; and the noble Lord knows well that to claim is one thing, and to have admitted is quite another. What are the French instructions given to the French officers? They are similar to those given to the British officers. They authorize French officers, seeing a vessel bearing a flag under suspicious circumstances, to board it, and ascertain its national character. But the French instructions go further, and declare that persons engaged in the Slave Trade are, generally speaking, persons who commit an act of piracy; they state that by the French law, it is piracy for persons to commit depredations from armed vessels, to have double sets of papers, &c. The French instructions, therefore, authorize the French officers to apply their law of piracy to the act of slavers. We are to have, under this new Convention, a joint force belonging to the two nations, amounting to not less than fifty-two vessels, and they are to act in accordance with such instructions as I have explained. I quite admit that the French cruisers will not have the same power as the British cruisers, as they have not the Right of Search with the countries chiefly carrying on the Slave Trade—Brazil and Spain. Still the French cruisers had before no Right of Search over Brazilian, Spanish, or Portuguese vessels, and therefore they now stand, in this respect, in no worse situation than heretofore; but as far as the abuse of the French flag is concerned, will not the assistance of twenty-six French cruisers, co-operating with us, provide an effectual precaution against the assumption of the French flag by the slavers of other countries? The noble Lord says that he cordially approves of those parts of the new Convention which propose that Treaties should be entered into between the commanders of the squadrons with the native princes, in order to enable them to destroy the baracoons, and to prevent the carrying on, upon shore, of the Slave Trade. When these Treaties shall have been formed, the French cruisers will be enabled to give most material aid to our cruisers in carrying them into effect. Is it not a fact, with respect to the suppression of the Slave Trade, that the whole burden and expense has fallen on this country? And what is 197 the noble Lord's own account? Has he not stated that the reason we failed is the not having a sufficient force on the coast of Africa? He said that events are constantly occurring which compel us to diminish our force on the coast of Africa; and, during the diminution of the force, an encouragement and a stimulus are given to the trade. Surely the addition of twenty-six vessels in aid of our squadron will supply that deficiency; fifty-two vessels being the minimum of the joint force to be placed on the coast of Africa. The noble Lord said, that during the Chinese war, during the dispute with New Grenada, and again when it was thought necessary by the present Government, to send a force to the River Plata, we removed vessels from the coast of Africa, and that, during their removal, the efforts made for the suppression of the Slave Trade were ineffectual. Well, then, against this evil we have taken the precaution in this new Treaty with France of providing that France shall bear one half of the burden in suppressing the Slave Trade, and that there shall never be less than fifty-two vessels engaged in blockading the coast of Africa, whilst the commanders shall endeavour to form Treaties with the native princes. Having formed those Treaties, and having then the right, under the law of nations, to interfere, the commanders will be able to give effect to them by the joint and cordial co-operation of the two greatest maritime powers in Europe. The noble Lord asked me some questions as to particular Articles of the Treaty lately concluded, He began with the preamble. The noble Lord stated, that the preamble of the Treaty of 1845 was most disgraceful to this country, because it began with this recital—Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and His Majesty the King of the French, considering that the Conventions of the 30th of November, 1831, and the 22nd of March, 1833, have effected their object in preventing the use of the English and French flags in carrying on the Slave Trade, but that this odious traffic still exists, and that the said Conventions are insufficient to ensure its complete suppression, His Majesty the King of the French having expressed his desire to adopt more effectual measures for the suppression of the Slave Trade than those contemplated in the said Conventions; and Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland being anxious to co-operate for the attainment of this object, they have agreed to conclude a new Convention.198 The noble Lord says it is disgraceful to admit that the existence of these Conventions have not had the effect of suppressing the Slave Trade. Now, it would be rather difficult to insert and put on record that France had carried on the Slave Trade, and that we had not. It would be a difficult matter to draw that distinction. But what does the noble Lord say to his own Convention of 1831? Why, the noble Lord, in that year, knowing that no efficacious measures were required for the suppression of the Slave Trade carried on by British subjects, committed precisely the same error, if it be an error, which we are charged with having fallen into in 1845. In fact, the noble Lord, by the wording of his own preamble, made it difficult for us to use different language from that employed by him in 1831. The Convention of 1831 was not required for the suppression of the Slave Trade carried on by British subjects. That had already been abolished and put an end to by law; but notwithstanding such being the case, the noble Lord had, in treating with another country, thought it courteous to place the common object upon the same footing. In the preamble of the Convention of 1831 he states that the countries of Great Britain and France, being desirous of rendering more effectual the means of suppression hitherto in force against the criminal traffic in slaves, have deemed it expedient to negotiate and conclude a Convention for the attainment of so salutary an object. The preamble was thus couched, and the Convention which it began went on to state, that therefore mutual Right of Search was conceded, such right being necessary for the suppression of the Slave Trade. Then the noble Lord put a question to me as to the meaning of the Third Article of the Convention, to which he seems to attach great importance. The noble Lord is particularly desirous that I should explain the meaning of it. Now, I think I can explain it to his entire satisfaction. The noble Lord asks whether the object of the Third Article is to prevent British commercial vessels from plying in certain harbours. The Third Article provides that certain stations shall be selected and defined, andThat the care thereof shall be committed to English and French cruisers, jointly or separately, as may be deemed most expedient, provided always, that in case of a station being specially committed to the charge of cruisers of either nation, the cruisers of the other nation may, at any time, enter the same for 199 the purpose of exercising the rights respectively belonging to them for the suppression of the Slave Trade.Now, I will tell the noble Lord what the object of that Article is, and I anticipate his entire approval of its insertion. It will be desirable to assign those stations to France nearest her own possessions, and to give to British cruisers the same advantage; but it is necessary to stipulate that we should have the right of entering the French stations, because we have more efficacious means of suppressing the Slave Trade than France. It may happen that on the stations assigned to French cruisers, Spanish, Portuguese, or Brazilian slave ships may enter, which the cruisers of France have not the power to search. We have that power. It became necessary, therefore, to stipulate that, though different stations should be primarily assigned to the cruisers of the two Powers, yet the assignation of a particular station to the French cruisers is not to prevent our cruisers, who have superior power, from entering on those stations, in order, if necessary, that the Right of Search should be exercised by us as to vessels over which the French have no corresponding power. Now, I trust I have explained that Article in a way which will be satisfactory to the noble Lord, and have shown him that the reservation was not intended to interfere with the pursuits of legitimate commerce, but only to enable us (after certain stations were assigned to the cruisers of each nation) to have a full power of entering the stations of the other Power, for the purpose of putting in force our superior powers. I am not aware that any other question was mooted by the noble Lord in connexion with the Treaty. [Viscount Palmerston: The Ninth Article.] That is a mere formal engagement, that neither Power will, under any circumstances, be concerned in the Slave Trade. Now, supposing the noble Lord's suspicions to be just as to the Imaum of Muscat, this becomes by no means an immaterial portion of the Convention. The noble Lord has been engaged in showing that France has been carrying on the Slave Trade, and yet he objects to a public engagement that each country shall within its own territories—within the Colonies it now possess, or may hereafter possess—enter into a reciprocal stipulation that under no circumstances shall the Slave Trade be carried on. I admit with regard to us—I trust with respect to France—such a stipulation is per- 200 fectly unnecessary; but if I doubted the policy of inserting it in the Convention, the speech of the noble Lord would go far to convince me that it was neither needless nor superfluous. But I suppose the noble Lord will not contend that it would be possible to exact such a stipulation from France, and yet that we should not be prepared to enter into a corresponding engagement. So far from implying any dishonour to this country, I think, if there is any well-grounded suspicion that the Slave Trade may be carried on in any part of the dominions of France, temporary or permanent, that a great public object is gained, if we obtain the admission of a positive engagement, that under no circumstances shall the Slave Trade be carried on—that the carrying it on shall not be merely the infraction of the municipal law, but of a positive stipulation entered into with this country. I, therefore, contend, that we have, under the new Convention, increased the means of suppressing the Slave Trade beyond those which could be exercised under the old Treaty. We have got this Convention with the cordial good will of France. We have assurances of its cordial co-operation, which we never should have had under the old Treaty. The provisions of this Treaty regard a more extended line of coast than that under the old; but add to that the consideration that these provisions are entered into with the cordial good will, and are to be carried into effect with the cordial concert and co-operation of France; then (giving due weight to this consideration) we have an instrument for the suppression of the Slave Trade more powerful and available than we should have had under the defective instrument of 1831. The noble Lord has asked me for the evidence taken before this Convention. The noble Lord treats with utter disregard the statement I made that I could not produce that evidence with a due regard to the interests of the public service. The noble Lord has often given a similar refusal; and I never treated his declaration with that disregard which he exercises towards me. I do assure him that I have no motive whatever in withholding that evidence on account of the supposed importance it might show was attached to the Right of Search. But this evidence was given by eight officers, English and French, who were examined before the Convention with regard to the measures it would be wise to adopt on the coast of Africa; as to the particular parts 201 of the coast where the cruisers of the two countries should be stationed, and where the trade was most carried on; the nature of the engagements it might be desirable to enter into with native Powers; the mode of carrying them into effect, and the secrecy necessary to be observed; and these being mainly and principally the matters to which that evidence refers, I cannot, consistently with the interests of the public service, consent to produce it. Therefore it is that I feel compelled by a performance of my duty, and not from the unworthy motives which the noble Lord chooses to attribute to me, to adhere to the refusal which I gave in answer to a question of the noble Lord, and to withhold from the knowledge of the public the evidence given by the officers who were examined. If the noble Lord thinks that any object can be gained by giving the names of the officers, I have not the slightest hesitation in stating them. There were five English and three French officers engaged in this investigation, and I am bound to say that the evidence they gave was not the foundation of this Treaty, for their evidence mainly referred to particulars with respect to which I adhere to the opinion that it would be inconsistent with my duty to present them to the House. Now, I entreat the House to bear in mind—if you want authority on the subject—who were the parties to whom the consideration of this question was committed, and by whom this Convention was signed. They were two men standing in their respective countries in the highest rank among public men for ability, for integrity, for high private character; but, above all, they were distinguished from most men on this account, that they have throughout their lives been remarkable for persevering and vigorous efforts, at any sacrifice, to combat and control the detestable traffic carried on in the blood of our fellow men. The two men who considered this question, and signed this Convention, have been influenced by no party or political considerations. Dr. Lushington, during the time he acted in public life, was opposed to the views of Her Majesty's present Government. The Duc de Broglie has for a long period separated himself from party in France, and has never shown the slightest desire to sacrifice his private opinions to any party. The Duc de Broglie, if any man, had an interest in maintaining the Convention of '33. It was during his occupation of the 202 Foreign Department that the Treaty of '33, entered upon for the purpose of giving effect to that of 1831, was signed. If the Duc de Broglie has been remarkable for any act of interference in public or political matters of late years, it has been with reference to the cause of education in his own country, or to the suppression of the Slave Trade. During the whole of his political life, opposed to Her Majesty's Government, Dr. Lushington has been chiefly remarkable (more so than any man now living, and ranking in this respect with Clarkson, Wilberforce, and the late Sir F. Buxton) for his successful efforts to mitigate the hard lot of the slave, and to prevent the continuance of the abominable traffic of the Slave Trade. These two men signed that Convention, which no earthly consideration would have induced them to sign, but the firm persuasion that they were placing in the hands of their respective Governments more powerful means of suppressing the Slave Trade than any which previously existed. This Convention comes recommended to this House, so far as authority is concerned, by the highest authorities by which it could be stamped. It comes recommended to the House by the application of reason, by contrasting its provisions with those of preceding Treaties; it comes recommended still more powerfully by this consideration, that you have every assurance that in carrying into effect its provisions, you will have the cordial concert and co-operation of the most powerful maritime Power of Europe next to our own; whereas, if you choose to rely, instead of this Convention, on the letter of the Treaty of 1831, depend on it you will not have that cordial co-operation which is the life and soul of engagements of this kind. You have a right to hold France to the literal execution of that Treaty; but, in my opinion, the example of France, the concert and co-operation between France and England, will add weight and effect to the practical execution of measures for the intended suppression of the Slave Trade, which you will look for in vain to the letter of the Treaty; if the feeling of a great nation, if the feeling of its Legislature, if the feeling of the public mind, runs counter to it; if it throws its sympathy, not on the side of those who desire the suppression of the Slave Trade, but of those by whom it is carried on; if it mingles up some feeling of national pride and honour in resisting the Right of Search, you may claim and 203 execute that Treaty. But I look forward with more confidence to the cordial and harmonious concert of the two countries, than to the letter of engagements opposed to the general feeling of one of the contracting parties, which, though they may be strictly and honourably carried into effect, I believe, in the present feeling of France, cannot be enforced in that spirit and temper which can alone give effect to engagements of this kind.
§ Mr. Sheil
Though the right hon. Gentleman entered upon the discussion of a wide range of topics, yet "the old and new lobby" question before the House is narrowed to this point—Why has not the evidence been produced? The right hon. Gentleman dwelt much on the Treaty with the Imaum of Muscat; but it was with much surprise I heard him read the concluding paragraph of that part which he cited as to the transfer of slaves along the coast to Zanzibar. The words I refer to are these:—We beg to state, we have directed the following authorities, viz., the Superintendent of the Indian Navy, the Collector of Customs at Bombay, the Senior Magistrate of Police, and the Resident in the Persian Gulf, immediately to institute a scrutinizing inquiry into the correctness or otherwise of this report; and the result will, as soon as known to this Government, be communicated for the information of your Committee. We have also made a similar reference on this subject to Captain Hamerton, who, as reported in our separate despatch of this date, is now at Bombay, on his way to Zanzibar, in fulfilment of certain instructions with which this Government has been furnished by the Government of India.With respect to Cuba, the right hon. Gentleman read a despatch of strong, almost peremptory language. The date of that despatch respecting the habits of acquisition which General O'Donnell had contracted, was, I believe, in February, 1844. A year has elapsed; and though the dismissal of General O'Donnell was demanded by Lord Aberdeen, he is at this moment Governor of Cuba. So that, notwithstanding the strong tone of remonstrance, it was not attended with any practical efficacy as regards the Spanish Government; and the menace of our Foreign Secretary does not appear to have fallen on the ears of General O'Donnell with any high degree of apprehension. To turn, however, from General O'Donnell, I must say, there was one assertion in my noble Friend's speech which struck me forcibly, and for an answer to which I waited anx- 204 iously, if not impatiently. My noble Friend stated that it was not only currently reported, but universally believed, that the officers who were examined before the Mixed Commission, gave it as their opinion that the surrender of the Right of Search would be most prejudicial. No contradiction had been given to that statement. My noble Friend is entitled to call for the evidence which refers to that point, and he only asks for extracts. The right hon. Gentleman says, that much of the evidence relates to the state of the coast of Africa, to the regulations of England and France in reference to the stations of the cruisers; and he added, it would be inconvenient to the public service to produce that part. It is not inconsistent with his public duty to give us that part which relates to the exercise of the Right of Search—the real point at issue. Instead of that ratiocination which the right hon. Gentleman has so laboriously pursued as to the comparative advantages of the last Convention over that of '31 — instead of the encomiums which he pronounced on the Due de Broglie, and his well-deserved eulogy of Dr. Lushington—it would be much more satisfactory to give us the evidence which we want. It is, therefore, a most remarkable circumstance that that portion of the evidence is omitted. The object of the right hon. Gentleman's speech was, to show that the Convention of 1845 was much better than the Treaties of 1831 and 1833. The Convention is perfect, according to his account; the Treaty of 1831 was lame and impotent. But mark the difference—set forth in the very head of the Convention itself. The Treaties of 1831 and 1833 have succeeded. You tell us, that by the Treaty of 1831, we had only ten degrees of latitude to the south of the line, and fifteen north of it, and that now you have got six more on the coast of Africa. But why expatiate on the benefits of a Convention, the results of which are yet merely conjectural, when, having proved the success of the Treaty of 1831, you are giving up the instrument the efficacy of which has been demonstrated, and by which the French Slave Trade has been put down; and are substituting for that which has succeeded, one respecting the success of which, after all, you can only indulge in flattering anticipations? I think that simple statement must strike the common sense of the people of this country, to which my noble Friend has appealed, infinitely more than any 205 comparison of the geographical limits to which the Treaty of Convention of 1831, and the present Convention, extend. But I do not fly from the comparison. In the course of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, my hon. and gallant Friend behind me once or twice exclaimed, "The West Indies!" The Treaty of 1831 extended to the West Indies—mark that. The Convention is limited to the coast of Africa. The right hon. Gentleman, when he heard the exclamation, said that he should come to that point; but he did not do so. He did not attempt to defend the present Convention for that omission. For that part of the case there may be a defence on the other side of the House; but if there be, it was left to some one else. There is this great difference between the Treaty of 1831 and the Convention just concluded, that the former gave the Right of Search in the West Indies, on the whole coasts of Cuba and the Brazils—gave it at the points where the Slave Trade rages in its direst cruelty. The right hon. Gentleman said that the Convention would extend to Madagascar, and that the Treaty of 1831 did not extend to the eastern coast of Africa. Why, every one knows that one of the best provisions of that Treaty was, that it did extend to the eastern coast of Africa, where an immense Slave Trade was carried on. In a geographical comparison between the Treaty of 1831 and the Convention of 1845, we find immense geographical advantages on the side of the former Treaty. The facts connected with those Treaties are plain and indisputable. In 1842, such was the importance attached by the right hon. Gentleman to the extension of the Right of Search secured by the Treaty of 1841, that he introduced a paragraph in the head and front of the Queen's Speech, in which he stated that that Treaty would be maintained. It was made a matter of almost ostentatious commemoration. The Queen's words, spoken on the 3rd of February, 1842, were—It is with great satisfaction that I inform you that I have concluded with the Emperor of Austria, the King of the French, the King of Prussia, and the Emperor of Russia, a Treaty for the more effectual suppression of the Slave Trade, which, when the ratifications shall have been exchanged, will be communicated to Parliament.A Member of Her Majesty's Government, the Earl of Dalhousie, now the President of the Board of Trade, stated in his speech, 206 as a probable result of that Treaty, the total extinction of the Slave Trade. That right hon. Gentlemen was pleased then to state, that, so far from the Government having tamely acquiesced in the non-ratification of that Treaty, Lord Aberdeen had, in the month of February, remonstrated upon the violation of the engagements into which the French had entered. Certainly, the language held was remarkably strong; and it appears, that when the ratification of that Treaty was declined by the French Government, the right hon. Gentleman thought it inconsistent with his declaration to Parliament to give way in the slightest degree. But does it not follow that, if you were not to make any concessions respecting the Treaty of 1841, if no modification was to be submitted to, much less should you have surrendered the Treaties of 1831 and 1833, on which that of 1841 was founded? If it was a settled matter that you would not permit the slightest change, the smallest modification, to be made in the Treaty of 1841, what defence have you for abandoning that of 1831? You would not allow the superstructure raised on the Treaty of 1831 to be touched, not the slightest component part of it to be disturbed; and yet, afterwards, allow the basis on which that superstructure was raised to be upturned from its foundations. M. Thiers and M. Guizot, when they declared that the Treaty of 1841 could not be ratified, at all events concurred in saying, that the faith of France was pledged to the faithful fulfilment of the Treaties of 1831 and 1833. One year afterwards, the Duke de Broglie, whose name has been so often mentioned in this debate, delivered a speech in the French Chamber of Peers, in which he stated that he was the party whose hand had signed the Treaties of 1831 and 1833, that the last Treaty was entered into at a time when great obligations had been conferred by England on France; and that England, in return for those obligations, asked nothing more than the employment of additional means for the extinction of this odious traffic. That speech contained a complete defence of the Treaty of 1831, as a Treaty just, in all respects equitable, and founded on principles of perfect reciprocity — one from which no evil had arisen; but, on the contrary, the greatest good. Such was the panegyric pronounced by the French Commissioner on the Treaty of 1831. I know the high character of the Duke de Broglie; I know the career 207 of Dr. Lushington, with whose name eloquence, learning, high-mindedness, generosity and humanity are associated. To the virtues of my right hon. and learned Friend, no man will bear more cordial testimony than I shall; but the facts of this case are too strong—I cannot get over them. I find, as the commencement of the system, that the Treaty of 1831 has been successful; that by its operation the Slave Trade has been put down. If successful as a remedy, is it to be abandoned as a preventive? Are you to have recourse to what is, after all, but an experiment, and to abandon that expedient, of the efficacy of which not the slightest doubt can be entertained? I should rather say, that in the means you have already tried and found successful, reason calls on you to persevere. This is my answer to the arguments of the right hon. Gentleman respecting the comparative merits of the Treaty of 1841 and Convention of 1845. But there is still another objection, of the gravest kind, to your new Convention. Is it not most impolitic on your part to stipulate with France that she shall maintain a squadron of twenty-six ships, that she shall acquire familiarity with the sea, gain a home on the deep, and become domesticated on the ocean? Is there no risk that the Right of Visit you have preserved, or rather which you have declared, will lead to collision between you and France? The quarter-deck of a slaver is to be converted into a floating Court of Admiralty, where the issue of mixed law and fact, French or not French, is to be tried by the men to whom you commit the perilous adjudication. My great objection to the Convention is this—before it was concluded, if an English sloop of war, furnished with a commission, met a French slaver, she could seize her, board her, confiscate her, the cargo of human beings being delivered intact to life and liberty from the bonds of that living charnel-house. But now what will be the case? After the Convention of 1845, what will happen? From the topmast of an English frigate a bark, whose peculiar configuration bespeaks her purpose, is descried. She is pursued; despite the swiftness which all the well-contrived architecture of Marseilles or Toulon can impart, she is overtaken; she is almost condemned, when suddenly a tri-colour is hoisted, and then she may pursue her unobstructed way to Bahia or the Havannah, while the mariners of England, 208 struck with impuissance, will have but to imprecate the compact, among the points of which is to be numbered this scandalous and detestable result. ["Hear!"] The right hon. Gentleman says "hear;" he cannot deny this—if a French slaver is met by an English cruiser, the instant her nationality is recognised she must be allowed to pass. That is the great and pressing fact of the case; that will be the result of the Convention. In my judgment you have set at nought and rendered valueless two most important acts of diplomacy; you have rendered all the sacrifices which England has made altogether vain; you have tempted the other nations of Europe to say that the Right of Search is incompatible with their honour. You have given a precedent to disturb all the Treaties connected with the Right of Search, and thus have done to the cause of humanity a mischief which not all your ingenious distinctions—not all your moral and sentimental declamations—not all your abandonment of the commerce of Brazil, your violation of the Treaty of Utrecht, and your quarrel with Spain, will be able to repair.
§ Sir R. H. Inglis
thought that the House would admit that his right hon. Friend at the head of the Government could not, even with the largest preparations, have met the statement of the noble Lord opposite, on the general points, more effectually than he had done. But there were one or two points upon which he did not think his right hon. Friend—marvellously perfect as was his information on almost all points—had been successful in meeting the objections of the noble Lord; and he alluded particularly to the preamble of the Convention. It might appear hypercritical on his part, but he could not help feeling that in the diplomatic relations between two great nations, form became substance. Now, there was one expression in the preamble of the Treaty, gratuitously used on the part of England, which might compromise a principle which involved rights which no Statesman, without the deepest consideration, and certainly never without reluctance, would concede to another Power. He felt that the noble Lord opposite, when he called the attention of the House to the terms of the preamble of the Treaty, had urged an objection which was far too well sustained. He did not wish to be misunderstood. Not even the right hon. and learned Member for Dungarvon could entertain 209 deeper feelings of respect for Dr. Lushington than he did; yet he could not suffer his private respect for either that eminent person or for the Duke de Broglie, to render him insensible to the construction which might be put upon the terms of the preamble which they had permitted themselves to sign. He felt with the noble Lord opposite, that the terms of that preamble justified the construction which he had put upon it—viz., that the single object of the Treaties of 1831 and 1833, was to prevent the flag of England and the flag of France from covering the Slave Trade; but he could never admit the inference that the flag of England had been nsed for covering the Slave Trade between the years 1807, when the Slave Trade was abolished, and 1831. Until that expression was explained, he could not but feel that the construction put upon it by the noble Lord was too accurate for him or for any Englishman to deny. He felt that the expression "considering the Convention had prevented the use of the English flag covering the Slave Trade," did imply that, till that Convention had been passed, the English flag had covered that odious traffic; and he therefore regretted that his right hon. Friend (Dr. Lushington) had ever put his name to such a paragraph. He felt, also, that the 9th Article had not been explained by the right hon. Member in a way which relieved it from the objections of the noble Lord. He felt, with the noble Lord, that the declaration made on the part of Her Majesty, that Her Majesty would continue the prohibition of the Slave Trade in the Colonies of this country, might raise the presumption, that, except for such a declaration, the Slave Trade—say for instance to Jamaica—might be carried on. That, in his opinion, was a most gratuitous assertion on the part of Her Majesty; and in making it, Her Majesty had done much to verify the French proverb—by excusing she had accused herself; for a mere declaration that she would not encourage the Slave Trade, implied that without such a declaration she might have encouraged it; and it was on that account that he regretted that a Convention should have been signed in the name of Her Majesty containing such a passage; for which no satisfactory defence had been made by the Government. He was bound to admit, that his right hon. Friend had been successful with reference to the charge which the noble Lord 210 had brought against the Government, of having tamely submitted to France and Spain. The paragraphs which his right hon. Friend had read sufficiently exculpated the English Government; and every one would rejoice that the honour of the country had not in that respect been tarnished by the hands of its Ministers. The noble Lord had been blamed for having, without notice, introduced so many subjects into the discussion; but he did not think the noble Lord could be justly blamed in that respect, as it was impossible, when a Convention, involving the subject of the Slave Trade was under discussion, to avoid introducing the topics to which the noble Lord had referred. [Sir R. Peel: The noble Lord had apologized for doing it.] There was no necessity for an apology. He could never hear the noble Lord address the House on the subject of the Slave Trade, without feeling how much they owed to him for his zealous and constant conduct during the long period of thirty-seven years, in endeavouring to suppress that traffic; nor could he forget the support which the noble Lord gave to a Motion which he (Sir R. Inglis) had formerly introduced on the subject, for which, and for the speech made by the noble Lord on that occasion, all who took an interest in the abolition of the African Slave Trade felt they owed him a debt of gratitude. He could not help taking advantage of the reference which the noble Lord had made to the existence of the Slave Trade in other parts of the world, to call the attention of the Government to a notice which he had given in the early part of the Session, and to the Motion which followed it, on the subject of the revival, or rather the creation, of a Slave Trade in our own Colonies, under the pretence of a voluntary migration. He believed they were giving good cause to their enemies in every part of the world to accuse them of gross political hypocrisy in the denunciations which they make of them with respect to the Slave Trade. He would refer, in the first instance, to the case of Trinidad. He believed that the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies was aware that at a period when there was a greater necessity for supply of free labour than there now was, the planters of Trinidad had met, and had agreed to an Address which he would read to the House. They said— 211The committee, trusting that this equitable rule will be no longer opposed, and that a British subject will be allowed to obtain, in a fair and honourable way, the labour he may require wherever it can be found, are so convinced of the superiority of the source which Africa presents, that they recommend its being made available, even at a considerable expense, the whole of which, however, would be defrayed by the Colony. It is possible that on that extensive continent a sufficient number of suitable free labourers may be engaged, by which all difficulties will be surmounted. But it may be otherwise; and, instead of waiting until the period of failure arrives, the more prudent course will be to prepare and determine beforehand the measures which in such case should be pursued. The committee, therefore, after seriously considering the whole subject, both in its causes and consequences, presume to advise, if a sufficient number of free labourers are not to be found on the coast of Africa disposed to emigrate to our Colonies, that some of the unhappy persons who are held there in bondage should be purchased and manumitted for that purpose; sincerely believing that such a measure will immediately assure a successful issue to the experiment of free labour, and effect in a short period of time the extinction of the Slave Trade.He should be doing imperfect justice to the Governor if he did not add, that as soon as the particulars of this Address reached the Governor of Trinidad, he caused to be written (on the 9th of July, 1841) this letter to the chairman of the body of planters:—
§ "Government House, July 9, 1841.
§ "Sir—I am directed by the Governor to acquaint you, in reply to your note to me of the 7th instant, that when his Excellency granted permission to the public officers to attend the meetings of the Committee of the Immigration Society, he was under the impression that this committee had been appointed for the purpose of procuring and 'furnishing information to the public in Great Britain with respect to the actual state of agricultural affairs in this Colony, and more particularly as to the real amount of wages paid to the labourers;' but as it now appears to the Governor that the investigations of the committee have extended to a much wider field, his Excellency declines any participation in its proceedings.
§ "I have, &c.,
§ "ARTHUR WHITE, Colonial Sec.
§ "The Hon. John Losh."
These proceedings on the part of the planters were, he conceived, sufficient to show, at the same time, the demand for labour in the West Indies, and the unscrupulous manner in which the planters of Trinidad were prepared to supply it. This state of
things in the West Indies led him to call the attention of the House to the state of things in Sierra Leone, where, according to the statement he had received, something much too like the Slave Trade was now going on. He held in his hand a letter from an individual at Sierra Leone, on whose authority he placed the utmost reliance, which detailed the circumstances that were occurring there. The letter was dated April 23, 1845; and, therefore, was written after the news had been received at Sierra Leone of a discussion in that House, the result of which was, that the Papers were ordered as to the emigration of free labourers from Africa to the West Indies; such free labourers being, in fact, Africans who had just been liberated from the holds of slave ships. It was distinctly asserted that there was no character of free agency at all about the consent of the negroes to go to the West Indies; for, independent altogether of other circumstances which he would immediately detail to the House, he had it on the authority of Mr. Pascoe Hill, that the Africans, when liberated from the slavers, (and, though his statement referred to parties liberated at the Cape, yet it must too often refer equally to all others liberated in Sierra Leone, and there exposed to the solicitations of the agents of the West India planters,) were in such a state of disease as to be unable to stand, and certainly utterly incapable of exercising any free discretion whatever. It appeared from the information he had received, that whereas up to the 8th of July last year, the negroes, when liberated from the slave ship, were allowed to remain for weeks and months in the Colony, they were now treated in the way which was related by his informant, whose words he would read to the House. He said—
Imagine to yourselves a large yard, enclosed with a high stone wall, filled with Africans from a slave vessel; the door opens, the emigrant agent enters, and is received by these deluded people with demonstrations of joy—a simultaneous clapping of hands is heard. That man, who is bribing them to leave their native country for a distant land, of which they know nothing, is their friend; he gives them money, and tobacco, and salt beef, and promises to send them to a fine country: he is their friend—they clap him. But this is not all. Whilst the emigrant agent and his delegates have free access to the liberated Africans in the liberated Africans' yard, and to use these means to persuade these ignorant creatures to emigrate to the West Indies, all other persons, likely to describe
the West Indies in a different strain, are most carefully shut out, and not allowed to enter the yard. For this purpose, the 'gatekeeper' has strict orders to prevent people from entering the yard who have no business to transact at the department; and a few days ago an inhabitant of this village, who had been 'gatekeeper' for three years, was dismissed on a charge of allowing persons to enter the yard, which he denies. Whether his statement be true or not, here is a glaring fact, that from the time the slaves are landed to the time they are shipped off to the West Indies, their country people are not permitted to visit them. The resident liberated Africans may have a father, a mother, a sister, or a brother, among the newly liberated Africans; but they must not enter the yard; they cannot have the opportunity of recognising them.
Now, he contended that, under such circumstances, to call on persons so situated to exercise a discretion whether they would become recruits in the army or emigrants in the West India islands—for those were the alternatives proposed to them—was nothing less than a mockery of men who had now become their fellow subjects. It was a delusive choice, which in all probability would lead only to their misery, and, at any rate, contingently only to their benefit. Was it an imaginary supposition, that among those of their fellow countrymen who were excluded, there might be some nearly and dearly connected with those who were in the yard? This was borne out by the facts. His informant added—
To show you that relatives may still be brought to the Colony in the hold of a slave ship, I will relate an interesting circumstance of the kind which lately occurred here. A Spanish vessel was brought into Sierra Leone, as a prize, containing a number of Africans, captured by a British cruiser. Among these persons thus mercifully delivered, the chief clerk of the liberated African department, himself a liberated African, found his mother's sister.
It might be said, that here the party must have had the opportunity of seeing his fellow countrymen, or he could not have discovered his relative. But that man enjoyed that privilege from his official situation; and this increased the hardship and injustice inflicted on the others. He was also informed, that so completely was this choice a mockery and a delusion, that the negroes were taken from the stone-yard by a back gate to the beach, to embark in the ships for the West Indies; for, "if they were but permitted," added the writer of the letter, "to walk through the streets to the beach on the day of embarkation,
their country people would be sure to 'talk country to them.'" These were the facts which had been stated to him; he believed that some of them were within the knowledge of the hon. Under Secretary for the Colonies. He felt that, having in an early period of the Session brought the subject generally before the House, and having since received this communication, it was his duty to submit it to the House; and he could not find a more legitimate opportunity for so doing than the present.
§ Sir Charles Napier
entirely agreed with the observations which had fallen from the noble Lord and from the hon. Baronet who had just sat down relative to the first paragraph of the preamble of the Treaty. It was in these words:—Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and His Majesty the King of the French, considering that the Conventions of the 30th of November, 1831, and the 22nd of March, 1833, have effected their object in preventing the use of the English and French flags in carrying on the Slave Trade, but that this odious traffic still exists, and that the said Conventions are insufficient to ensure its complete suppression; His Majesty the King of the French, having expressed his desire to adopt more effectual measures for the suppression of the Slave Trade, than those contemplated in the said Conventions; and Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland being anxious to co-operate for the attainment of this object; they have agreed to conclude a new Convention, which, as between the two high contracting parties, shall be substituted in the place of the abovementioned Conventions of 1831 and 1832; and for that purpose they have named as their Plenipotentiaries, that is to say—they had made a new Treaty; but what had they given up? They gave up the Right of Search—the right which enabled the British Navy, on falling in with French vessels, to examine them within certain latitudes, and ascertain whether they were fitted up in the usual manner for the Slave Trade, or for conveying slaves to other vessels, or directly to the Brazils. Now what had they got in return for the relinquishment of that right? They had got the privilege of having twenty-six French vessels in company and conjunction with as many English vessels, in order, it would appear, that they might teach the French—as his right hon. Friend the Member for Dungarvon had eloquently expressed it—that they might teach the French all the arts of seamanship 215 in which British sailors excelled. Now he thought that to be just the most impolitic thing that the Government could possibly have done. He recollected that in 1830, when the French squadron had been first acting in conjunction with the British Navy in the North Sea and in the Mediterranean, a gallant officer compared the French vessels as being like so many floating islands. The next matter to which he would wish to allude was the Right of Visit. But was the right hon. Baronet so sure that the Right of Visit would not be as dangerous as the Right of Search, or that it would not, in a short time become equally obnoxious to the French Government as the Right of Search was? What was the Right of Visit? An English vessel on the coast of Africa discovers a vessel with French colours. If the officer in command did his duty, he should send a boat to her to discover whether there might not be some assumption of the French flag or not. Was it not almost certain that if the vessel assumed false colours, she would also have a crew dressed as French sailors, and every other necessary deception to correspond? It would be, therefore, the duty of the British officer to board the vessel; but then they should see the delicate and gentle manner in which the instructions which he had to follow had been prepared. It would really appear to have been prepared by some gentleman who had been all his life accustomed to drawing rooms only. The language was really amusing. It was as follows:—You are not to capture, visit, or in any way interfere with vessels of France; and you will give strict instructions to the commanding officers of cruisers under your orders to abstain therefrom. At the same time you will remember that the King of the French is far from claiming that the flag of France should give immunity to those who have no right to bear it; and that Great Britain will not allow vessels of other nations to escape visit and examination by merely hoisting a French flag, or the flag of any other nation with which Great Britain has not, by existing Treaty, the Right of Search. Accordingly, when from intelligence which the officer commanding Her Majesty's cruiser may have received, or from the manœuvres of the vessel, or other sufficient cause, he may have reason to believe that the vessel does not belong to the nation indicated by her colours, he is, if the state of the weather will admit of it, to go a-head of the suspected vessel, after communicating his intention by hailing, and to drop a boat on board of her, to ascertain her nationality, without causing her detention, in the event of her really proving to be a vessel 216 of the nation the colours of which she has displayed, and therefore one which he is not authorized to search.He wondered what difference would exist between the manœuvres of a French, or a Spanish, or a Brazilian vessel under such circumstances. Perhaps the right hon. and gallant Admiral opposite (Sir G. Cockburn), would enlighten the House on that point. It then proceeds:—But should the strength of the wind, or other circumstance, render such mode of visiting the stranger impracticable, he is to require the suspected vessel to be brought to, in order that her nationality may be ascertained; and he will be justified in enforcing it if necessary:—understanding always, that he is not to resort to any coercive measure until every other shall have failed; and the officer who boards the stranger is to be instructed merely in the first instance to satisfy himself by the vessel's papers, or other proof, of her nationality; and if she prove really to be a vessel of the nation designated by her colours, and one which he is not authorized to search, he is to lose no time in quitting her, offering to note on the papers of the vessel the cause of his having suspected her nationality, as well as the number of minutes the vessel was detained (if detained at all) for the object in question; such notation to be signed by the boarding officer, specifying his rank and the name of Her Majesty's cruiser, and whether the commander of the visited vessel consents to such notation on the vessel's papers or not (and it is not to be done without his consent); all the said particulars are to be immediately inserted in the log book of Her Majesty's cruiser, and a full and complete statement of the circumstances is to be sent, addressed to the Secretary of the Admiralty, by the first opportunity, direct to England; and also a similar statement to you as senior officer on the station, to be forwarded by you to our Secretary, accompanied by any remarks you may have reason to make thereon. The commanding officers of Her Majesty's vessels must bear in mind that the duty of executing the instruction immediately preceding, must be discharged with great care and circumspection. For if any injury be occasioned by examination without sufficient cause, or by the examination being improperly conducted, compensation must be made to the party aggrieved; and the officer who may cause an examination to be made without sufficient cause, or who may conduct it improperly, will incur the displeasure of Her Majesty's Government.Well, what would happen under these instructions? The captains of French merchant vessels cruising on the coast of Africa would feel well that England had been bullied into giving up the Right of Search. This was the plain meaning of 217 the Treaty; and whatever other terms might be applied to it, the generality of persons commanding French vessels would adopt that more correct description of what had been done, and believe that England had been bullied by France into an abandonment of the Right of Search. Well, a British cruiser might fall in with a vessel. She might be French or not; but the British officer could not ascertain that fact without sending a boat to board her. The French captain might possibly be a violent man. He might have a great deal of French pluck about him, and cry out, "I belong to la Grande Nation, and I want to know for what purpose I am detained." At such a time the smallest turn of the helm would be enough to run the boat down. He perceived the right hon. Baronet smile; but he could assure him that such occurrences were not uncommon. A French war cruiser might be in sight, and the captain of the French merchant vessel might say that he would go on board of her, and complain of the manner in which he had been treated, and thus disagreement and ill-feeling between the crews of the two vessels would be fomented. He would illustrate his view of what might take place by a circumstance which occurred to himself on the coast of Syria. They had orders to prevent Egyptian vessels from coming into the port of Beyrout, and an officer, in mistake, boarded a French vessel, which they had no right to do. He had intended writing a letter of apology to the French captain, when the gentleman came on board, and on being informed of his intention, very properly requested that the letter should be written. The letter was afterwards sent to the French papers, and the captain was cried up as being the greatest man that France had ever produced, because he had made an English 84 gun ship apologize to him. The French Government very properly made public a correct explanation of the matter; but the captain was actually presented with the Cross of the Legion of Honour for his conduct. He hoped his apprehensions would not be realized; but he certainly very much feared that the right hon. Baronet would find a great deal more difficulty to arise from the Right of Visit, than had ever been known under the Right of Search. There was one Article of the Treaty to which he wished particularly to direct the attention of the House, namely, the Fourth. It stated that—Treaties for the suppression of the Slave 218 Trade shall be negotiated with the native princes or chiefs on the abovementioned part of the west coast of Africa, wherever it may seem necessary to the commanders of the English and French squadrons respectively. Such Treaties shall be negotiated by the commanders themselves, or by officers specially instructed by them to that effect.Now he presumed that the term "respective" meant "conjointly," and that the superior officers of the two nations could not conclude any of these Treaties unless they could do so together. But then the Sixth Article was in these words:—Whenever it shall be necessary to employ force, conformably to the law of nations, in order to compel the due execution of any Treaty made in pursuance of the present Convention, no such force shall be resorted to, either by land or sea, without the consent of the commanders, both of the British and of the French squadrons. And if it should be deemed necessary for the attainment of the objects of this Convention, that posts should be occupied on that part of the coast of Africa before described, this shall be done only with the consent of the two high contracting parties.Now, he would suppose that two commanders of French and British cruisers saw one of these Treaties, after being made, broken before their faces, and that one of the two commanders-in-chief had gone to Cape Verd, while another had sailed to the south; were they to have no power of destroying these baracoons until they could consult both their superior officers? He would also wish to know why they were not to have French cruisers on the eastern, as well as on the western coast of Africa, as he believed slavery was quite prevalent on the coasts of Madagascar? The crews of the other ships would constantly be in sight of those of this country—watching how they acted, copying them in all respects, and, in fact, learning the art of war. He should not be surprised if, not long hence, Russia were to volunteer to enter into a Treaty of the same kind with Great Britain, in order that her cruisers also might derive benefit from the education. He had little doubt that this was one of the reasons which induced France to enter into the Treaty. The right hon. Baronet had said that we had gained 6½ degrees as regarded the Right of Visit; but the truth, was, that we had the Right of Search before, and a Right of Visit also in southern latitudes; we always had possessed the power of ascertaining whether a vessel 219 really belonged to the country whose flag she bore. He did not see, therefore, what we had gained in this respect; and we had certainly lost upon other points. He would rather see the British Government sustaining the whole expense of fifty-two vessels of war, than acting conjointly with a French or any other squadron.
§ Mr. G. W. Hope
wished to say a few words in answer to what had fallen from his hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford, and at that late hour of the night they would be but few. His hon. Friend had spoken of purchasing slaves for the purpose of emancipating them. He had, indeed, acquitted the Government of Trinidad on this subject; but he ought to have said that when proposals of the kind were made, they were met by a most decided negative. The British Government had objected to any proposal that might be so abused; and the noble Lord under whom he served was of opinion that the purchase of slaves in this way might virtually encourage the Slave Trade, under the pretence of free emigration, and the great body of the West Indians had never advocated any course laying them open to such a charge. The more immediate object of the observations of the hon. Baronet was the treatment of liberated Africans at Sierra Leone; and this very day, he (Mr. Hope) had had an opportunity of conversing with a lieutenant of the Navy, who had been engaged in the service: the account he gave did not lead him (Mr. Hope) to assent to the facts, much less to the deductions, of the hon. Baronet. It was undoubtedly the opinion of the Government that liberated slaves could be settled more satisfactorily to themselves in the West Indies than at Sierra Leone. On this point he might refer also to the statements of the Governor of Sierra Leone, himself a man of colour, and to the information derived from the members of the Mixed Commission. Hence it appeared, that at Sierra Leone the negroes worked at a low rate of wages, and although they had some means of education and spiritual instruction, they enjoyed none of the advantages possessed by the negroes in the West Indies. If not a slave, he was a mere drudge. To the same effect he might read an extract of a letter from Mr. Hooke, the Secretary to the Mixed Commission, who added that the liberated negroes often became wanderers among the mountains near Sierra 220 Leone, and being retaken, were resold and reshipped as slaves. In one slave ship three were found who could talk English fluently, who had been liberated at Sierra Leone, who had been recaptured, resold to slavery, and retaken by a British cruiser. On the other hand in the West Indies wages were higher, comforts great, and means of religious instruction abundant. He contended, therefore, that it was the duty of Government, by every fair means, but by fair means only, to induce the natives to transport themselves from the coast of Africa. The hon. Baronet had contended that the negro had no real option, and that it was a mere mockery; but what he had said to-night did not well tally with his former statements and opinions upon the subject. The hon. Baronet had said, that the choice was frequently between starvation and emigration, and that bribes were held out in the shape of bounty money, tobacco, and promises of kind treatment, to induce them to go to the West Indies. At all events, this statement negatived any assertion of the use of force and compulsion; and the officer to whom he had before alluded, had enabled him to contradict it. He had asked him how it happened that so few liberated Africans were persuaded to go to the West Indies? and he had answered that it depended on the advice they received from their own countrymen; they were only to be reached by interpreters. The object was to give them a fair and free choice, to place the advantages clearly and truly before them; whereas, it would be inferred from the statement of the hon. Baronet, that no option was allowed, and that when once they had consented to go, they were not permitted to alter their determination. So far was this from being the case, that the negroes constantly changed their minds before they quitted Sierra Leone; and, in one instance, 180 had so changed their minds. It was evident, therefore, that the assertion of the hon. Baronet was ill-founded.
§ Captain Pechell
stated, that the right hon. Baronet was completely mistaken as to the benefits which he expected to derive from the Convention. The right hon. Baronet attributed the clamour against the Right of Search in France to the feeling which had been excited against his noble Friend; but this was not the case, for nothing was beard on the subject until 221 Russia and other Powers were invited to join this country and France in Conventions similar to those of 1831 and 1833. He would refer to the authority of MM. Guizot and the Duke de Broglie. He denied that the Right of Search could not have been maintained if proper steps had been taken for that purpose. He was proud to find that a naval officer, much to his honour, stated this in the French Chamber. Admiral Roussin had stated there, that as he knew the Slave Trade could not be put down without the maintenance of the Right of Search, he would wave any jealousy with respect to the French flag on that point. He, therefore, thought that there was no ground for this country making the enormous sacrifice which had been made by this Convention. The Treaties with Spain and Portugal might also be thrown up on the same ground. The means which were to be adopted under the Convention would be perfectly harmless as regarded the Slave Trade; and it was a delusion to suppose that any assistance would be given by the French squadron for this purpose, unless by landing and taking possession of the slave factories on the coast. The French squadron could not stop slave ships under the Spanish, Portuguese, or Brazilian flags, because there were no Treaties between France and those Powers respecting the Right of Search. Much more harm would be inflicted on the commerce of England on the coast of Africa, by the presence of the French squadron there, than there was any chance of arising from any collision that would take place under the Right of Search. He could not conceive how any naval man could sanction such a sacrifice as had been made under this Convention.
§ Viscount Palmerston
said, that he had very few observations to make in reply to what had fallen from the right hon. Baronet. The right hon. Gentleman had stated that, from his position in the Government, and from the great labour which he had to perform, it was difficult for him to reply entirely on the moment to observations which might be made on such a subject as the present. It arose from the present constitution of the Administration, as the Foreign Department had no representative in that House; and it was impossible for a Member of the Cabinet to send a copy of his speech, or even the heads of what he meant to say to the right hon. Baronet two or three days beforehand; 222 but it was obvious on that occasion, that any deficiency in the reply of the right hon. Baronet did not arise from any want of knowledge or ability on his part, but because no one could properly answer the points which had been put. The right hon. Baronet had said that he had on every occasion taken the opportunity of speaking disparagingly of France. He denied it. He never thought of speaking disparagingly of France. Every sensible man must feel the greatest respect for the French nation; and must desire that France and England should be on the most friendly terms. He did not wish to boast of what had been done by the Government to which he had belonged; yet, he believed, that they did as much to cement a good understanding between the two countries as it was possible under the circumstances to accomplish. The right hon. Baronet had stated, that he was mistaken in stating that no remonstrance was made by the British Government to France for not ratifying the Treaty of 1841. He made his statement on the assertion of the French Minister in the French Chambers, who declared that England had made no remonstrance on the subject. He agreed with the right hon. Baronet that the refusal to ratify the Treaty, was not a cause for war between the two countries. He would go further, and say, that it was not a cause for any serious coldness between the two Governments; but, for the sake of example and precedent, it would have been well to have written, not merely a despatch to the English Ambassador, but a note to the French Government, stating calmly and dispassionately the reasons why this Government objected to the course taken by them on the subject. He was inclined to doubt whether Her Majesty's Government acted prudently in declining the profered modifications of France, especially if they were only of a trifling and immaterial character. It was likely that the rejection of those modifications was the cause why the ratification of the Treaty was not made. The right hon. Baronet had referred to the despatch addressed by him (Viscount Palmerston) to Lord Granville on the 7th of April, 1831, by which was proposed to the French Government, an unlimited Right of Search. To this proposition, France gave a positive refusal. It was then proposed, that a temporary arrangement should be made between 223 the two Governments, for interchanging warrants without founding them on any Treaty. That proposal pleased the French Government, and they agreed to it; but, instead of its being made an experimental and temporary arrangement, France consented to embody it in a Treaty. The moment it was so embodied, it no longer remained a matter of arrangement between the two Governments. The right hon. Baronet must, therefore, admit that he had misunderstood the nature of the Treaty. All he (Viscount Palmerston) could say, with respect to the number of cruisers to be maintained by the two Governments was, that this country had treated with France as a Power acting upon the principles of honour and self-respect. He never believed France would seek to avail herself of any means of evasion. He would not now, believe, that if the Government had refused to abrogate the Treaty, France would not have felt it due to her honour and dignity to act upon the fair spirit and meaning of it. With reference to the explanation given by the right hon. Baronet of the nature of the evidence given by the officers before the Commissioners, he (Viscount Palmerston) was willing to make a bargain. If the right hon. Baronet would give him a list of the names of the witnesses examined, and an extract of such parts of their evidence as related to the value of the mutual Right of Search, as a means for the suppression of the Slave Trade, he would modify his Motion to that extent. He would in that case leave it to the Government to use their perfectly free and unqualified discretion to select the passages aud expressions of the witnesses. But if the right hon. Gentleman refused to do this, he should feel it his duty to take the sense of the House upon the Motion as it stood.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 51; Noes 94: Majority 43.
|List of theAYES.|
|Archbold, R.||Dalmeny, Lord|
|Baring, rt. hn. F. T.||D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C.|
|Berkeley, hn. Capt.||Dungan, G.|
|Blake, M. J.||Dundas, Adm.|
|Brotherton, J.||Ebrington, Visct.|
|Chapman, B.||Esmonde, Sir T.|
|Christie, W. D.||Etwall, R.|
|Clements, Visct.||Ferguson, Sir R. A.|
|Cowper, hon. W. F.||Forster, M.|
|Craig, W. G.||French, F.|
|Curteis, H. B.||Granger, T. C.|
|Hindley, C.||Russell, Lord J.|
|Holland, R.||Seymour, Lord|
|Horsman, E.||Sheil, rt. hn. R. L.|
|Hutt, W.||Shelburne, Earl of|
|Inglis, Sir R. H.||Sheridan, R. B.|
|Labouchere, rt. hn. H.||Smith, rt. hn. R. V.|
|Leveson, Lord||Somers, J. P.|
|Mangles, R. D.||Somerville, Sir W. M.|
|Martin, J.||Vane, Lord H.|
|Moffat, G.||Vivian, J. H.|
|Morris, D.||Warburton, H.|
|Napier, Sir C.||Wawn, J. T.|
|O'Connell, M. J.||Wyse, T.|
|Palmerston, Visct.||Tufnell, H.|
|Redington, T. N.||Pechell, Capt.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Henley, J. W.|
|A'Court, Capt.||Herbert, rt. hon. S.|
|Antrobus, E.||Holmes, hon. W. A'C.|
|Bailey, J.||Hope, Sir J.|
|Baillie, Col.||Hope, hon. C.|
|Baldwin, B.||Hope, G. W.|
|Barkly, H.||Hotham, Lord|
|Baring, rt. hn. W. B.||Hughes, W. B.|
|Barrington, Visct.||Jermyn, Earl of|
|Blackburne, J. I.||Jocelyn, Visct.|
|Boldero, H. G.||Lennox, Lord A.|
|Bowles, Adm.||Lincoln, Earl of|
|Boyd, J.||Lockhart, W.|
|Bramston, T. W.||Mackenzie, T.|
|Bruce, Lord E.||Mackenzie, W. F.|
|Buckley, E.||M'Neill, D.|
|Buller, Sir J. Y.||Mahon, Visct.|
|Cardwell, E.||Marjoribanks, S.|
|Carew, W. H. P.||Masterman, J.|
|Christopher, R. A.||Meynell, Capt.|
|Chute, W. L. W.||Mildmay, H. St. J.|
|Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G.||Milnes, R. M.|
|Clive, hon. R. H.||Neeld, J.|
|Cockburn, rt. hn. Sir G.||Neville, R.|
|Corry, rt. hon. H.||Nicholl, rt. hon. J.|
|Courtenay, Lord||Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.|
|Damer, hon. Col.||Praed, W. T.|
|Darby, G.||Pringle, A.|
|Denison, E. B.||Pusey, P.|
|Douglas, Sir H.||Rashleigh, W.|
|Escott, B.||Sanderson, R.|
|Estcourt, T. G. B.||Scott, hon. F.|
|Fitzroy, hon. H.||Shaw, rt. hon. F.|
|Flower, Sir, J.||Smith, rt. hn. T. B. C.|
|Fox, S. L.||Smollett, A.|
|Fremantle, rt. hn. Sir T.||Somerset, Lord G.|
|Gaskell, J. Milnes||Stuart, H.|
|Gladstone, Capt.||Sutton, hon. H. M.|
|Gordon, hon. Capt.||Tennent, J. E.|
|Gore, W. O.||Trench, Sir F. W.|
|Gore, W. R. O.||Trevor, hon. G. R.|
|Goulburn, rt. hon. H.||Vesey, hon. T.|
|Graham, rt. hn. Sir J.||Waddington, H. S.|
|Greenall, P.||Wellesley, Lord C.|
|Greene, T.||Wortley, hon. J. S.|
|Hamilton, G. A.||TELLERS.|
|Hamilton, W. J.||Young, J.|
|Hamilton, Lord C.||Baring, H.|