HC Deb 20 March 1854 vol 131 cc995-6

said, he wished to ask the noble Lord the Leader of the House, in what state the correspondence between the British and the United States Governments with reference to coloured seamen (being British subjects), on the vessels to which they belong arriving at a port in any of the Southern States, being imprisoned on account of their colour, now was, and whether there would be any objection to lay the correspondence on the table of the House; and also whether there was any truth in the report, that coloured seamen (being British subjects) have been not only imprisoned, but afterwards sold into slavery, if unable to pay the cost of their imprisonment? He had documents in his possession which led him to believe that this had occurred.


said: Lord Clarendon was of opinion that it would be better not to produce the correspondence, relying on the Legislatures of the several States to make such alterations in their laws as would prevent a recurrence of these causes of complaint. In Carolina the Governor had proposed an alteration which had not been carried into effect, but it was understood that it would be again proposed this year; and believing that there would be a great improvement in the legislation both of Carolina and of Georgia upon this subject, Lord Clarendon, he repeated, was of opinion that the correspondence had better not be produced.

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