HC Deb 18 May 1848 vol 98 cc1197-9

On the Order of the Day for further proceeding on the question that Mr. Cardwell be added to this Committee,

VISCOUNT PALMERSTON said, that he should withdraw his objection to the insertion of Mr. Cardwell's name.

MR. CARDWELL said, that nothing could have been more courteous than the manner in which the noble Lord had objected to the addition of his name; but he hoped that the noble Lord would also withdraw the observations which he had made respecting the interest which the merchants of Liverpool had in the continuance of the slave trade. The truth was, that no persons were so much interested in the abolition of the slave trade as the merchants connected with the port of Liverpool, as it was the only chance they had of seeing legitimate commerce flourish in Africa.

VISCOUNT PALMERSTON regretted that, having stated what he believed to be the fact, he could not unsay what he had previously said. Could the hon. Member for Liverpool deny that from that port were exported a vast quantity of those commodities which were exchanged for slaves on the coast of Africa?

MR. CARDWELL did not mean to deny that exports were made from Liverpool, which, after passing through the hands of merchants in some part or other of the globe, were appropriated to some improper purpose. He must hesitate in allowing his name to be added till the noble Lord should assure him that he meant to convey no imputation.

The EARL of LINCOLN said, the noble Lord had stated that the Members for Liverpool were not competent persons to be appointed Members of this Committee. The noble Lord had been twice an unsuccessful candidate for the representation of Liverpool: had he been successful he could not, on his own principle, have held his present office.

VISCOUNT PALMERSTON would remind the noble Lord that in that House there were many unsuccessful candidates. If the noble Lord had been an unsuccessful candidate, it was not in Liverpool, but in his own county. The noble Lord was certainly mistaken in supposing he had been an unsuccessful candidate for Liverpool. Many electors of Liverpool had done him the honour to put him up; but he had declined being a candidate. Had he been elected, he should have felt it his duty to decline sitting for that city in preference to the borough which he now represented.

MR. GLADSTONE had hoped the noble Lord would have been prepared, if not to withdraw, at least to qualify his statement. He was right, in point of fact, that goods which entered into the slave trade did pass through Liverpool. But the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Company, or the porters in the docks, might be inculpated on the same principle. Though Liverpool was the medium through which those goods passed, it was scarcely fair that such an imputation should go forth as the noble Lord had apparently sanctioned.

The name of Mr. C ARDWELL was added to the Committee.

The House adjourned about Two o'clock.