§ SIR JOHN KENNAWAY
rose to call attention to the great development of the traffic in Slaves, by land, within the dominions of the Sultan of Zanzibar, since the conclusion of the Treaty of 1873, as also to the want of systematic provision for the slaves liberated by Her Majesty's cruisers, and to move—That, in the opinion of this House, it is desirable that Her Majesty's Government should invite and assist the Sultan of Zanzibar to take such further steps as may be necessary for the total suppression of the Slave Trade within his dominions, and that at the same time more adequate provision should be made for the care and maintenance of the liberated slaves.The traffic had been put down by sea, but there had been an increased traffic by land, and unless stringent measures were taken to put a stop to it the good we had already effected would be undone. The slave traffic was still going on, and the poor wretches, who were marched in chained gangs across the country, suffered great cruelty. Within the last few months some captures had been made by our cruisers, and the question of disposing of those liberated slaves now arose. We had to deal with 500 slaves a-year captured by our ships of war. These were carried to Aden and to Bombay, at a cost of about £3,000 a-year. Since the Treaty with the Sultan of Zanzibar numbers of them had been sent to Natal, where they were well treated; 250 had been sent to the foreign mission 1217 at Bagamayo, and some others to the establishment of the Church Missionary Society at Mombas. The fact remained that Her Majesty's Government had taken no practical steps to relieve philanthropic societies from the expense of taking care of the old, sick, and infirm persons thus liberated and placed under their charge. The country, he contended, had made itself responsible for the good treatment of the slaves whom they liberated. In old times large numbers of slaves were captured on the West Coast of Africa by our cruisers, and by the Act of 1824 persons were appointed to receive and provide for the slaves thus liberated. By the Act of 1873 it was provided that the liberated slaves were to be handed over to such persons as the Consuls might select, subject to the regulations of the Treasury; but as far as he could learn the Treasury had not made any regulations, and nothing had been done to relieve the philanthropic societies of the burdens which had been thrown on them. The question then arose, What further steps ought to be taken in the matter? He did not think the Government would find any great difficulty in dealing with the land traffic, which it was most desirable to suppress, because of the horrible cruelties which it entailed on the wretched slaves. Admiral Cumming, writing in July last, said he saw no difficulty in stopping the land traffic, but that a further Treaty might be necessary with the Sultan, and that he should be provided with a few soldiers to stop the caravans of the slave dealers. Commander Foot suggested that a raid might be made from the ships for the same purpose. Sir Leopold Heath was also of opinion that something should be done to stop the caravans, and Dr. Kirk thought that it would be expedient for the British Government to establish a free settlement on the coast. Sir Bartle Frere also considered that an establishment under the protection of the British flag was the best arrangement that could be made for the permanent improvement and civilization of East Africa. He believed the time had arrived when they should call on the Government to form such an establishment. He was certain that the carrying out of such a policy would not involve us in diplomatic troubles, nor had we anything to fear from it such as the war in Abyssinia. Were the Government to 1218 take courage and establish such a settlement they would be supported by the country. In such an establishment there should be absolute liberty for the liberated slaves, and provision made for educating and training them, and enabling them to become self-supporting communities. The Government might say the time had not come for them to do this. The alternative was to throw themselves on the good offices of those charitable societies who were ready to undertake the care of the slaves, and to follow the conditions laid down by the Government. The establishment of the Church Missionary Society at Mombas was one which was in every way deserving of their support. They had at present 375 liberated slaves entrusted to them by Her Majesty's Government, of whom a large number were children. They had an estate of considerable extent, with every facility for the training of the negroes, and the establishment was carried on in an admirable manner. This establishment was about to be placed under the command of a half-pay officer, and what the Government might now do was to invest that officer with the Consular dignity, and so place under his direction the care of these liberated slaves. That would involve little expense, while it would be one practical method of dealing with this question, which at present urgently demanded the consideration of Her Majesty's Government. The Sultan of Zanzibar had nothing that could answer to the name of a preventive force. He was very poor, and had lost £20,000 a-year by the abolition of the duty on the export of slaves, which was only partially made up to him by the subsidy of £8,000 a-year which he received from Her Majesty's Government. Now, if a Consul were placed at Mombas charged with the care of that establishment, if the Sultan were assisted in providing a preventive force, and if grants were made from the Treasury for the support, education, and training of the liberated slaves, the expense would be very small indeed in proportion to the duty that devolved on this country and the sacrifices which she had already made for the suppression of this accursed traffic. The capabilities of that portion of Africa where this traffic was carried on were almost boundless. Once put an end to the slave traffic, and smiling villages and prosperous communities 1219 would spring up, which, would lead to a large amount of trade, by which the people of England would be benefited. The hon. Member for Kirkcaldy Burghs (Sir George Campbell) had told them in a recent article in The Fortnightly Review that the industrial capabilities of Africa were immense, and that it was a country even of greater importance than India. No one who contemplated the great continent torn by the slave trade could hesitate in doing everything that was possible to suppress that horrible system. To do so would be worthy of our high traditions, worthy of the name of Englishmen, and it was now for them to determine that the lust of slaveholding gain should be conquered by the indomitable perseverance of the Englishmen.
§ SIR ROBERT ANSTRUTHER,
in seconding the Motion, said, that having served on the Committee on this subject, he could fully bear out the facts stated by his hon. Friend. There was, however, one fact which he would add to it, as to the number of slaves annually exported from Africa. The Report of the Committee stated that the number was20,000; but Sir Bartle Frere brought it up to 35,000. Practically the state of the slave was worse now than when this country first undertook to deal with the question—not that the Sultan of Zanzibar had not tried honestly to fulfil his obligations, or that we had not honestly tried to deal with the question, but because the horrors of the land passage exceeded those of the sea passage. He believed the Sultan of Zanzibar was desirous to give us assistance; but the slave dealers had altered their route, and the Sultan had not power to stop them. The British Government might assist him by paying troops and he could occupy the frontier, running inland across the track which the slave caravans must pass in going North. It would be a very simple matter so far as money was concerned. It need not, so far as he could see, lead to any complications, while it would effectually prevent the passage of the slave gangs. They could also do much by establishing a settlement at Mombas, and giving Consular power to the superintendent of that station, by which they would still further narrow the line across which the slaves were carried. He expressed a hope that, notwithstanding the absence of the Foreign Secretary, the Under 1220 Secretary would be able to tell them that this odious and accursed traffic should be finally put a stop to, as it might be beyond question if we exerted with effect and determination the power and influence at our command.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That, in the opinion of this House, it is desirable that Her Majesty's Government should invite and assist the Sultan of Zanzibar to take such further steps as may be necessary for the total suppression of the Slave Trade within his dominions, and that at the same time more adequate provision should be made for the care and maintenance of the liberated slaves."—(Sir John Kennaway.)
§ MR. MARK STEWART
was of opinion that the able speech of the hon. Baronet must prove that there was a very great grievance in the matter which he had brought under the attention of the House; although it must be admitted that that grievance had been in a great degree abated by the wise measures which had been adopted in the last few years.
Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being found present,
§ MR. MARK STEWART,
resuming, said, that the Treaties which had been made with the rulers of the East Coast had not been made in vain, for they had had the effect of putting down the slave traffic at sea, and it was for the Government to see whether the same result could not be achieved on land. On this subject we now had more precise information than was ever in our possession before. We now knew that there was only one main road northward, and if we could blockade this road and prevent the slaves being carried along it we were masters of the situation. We knew also that many of those districts contained some of the most fertile land in Africa and were very suitable for sugar plantations. In fact, there was a great future in store for the country if our Government would devise the means of putting down the slave trade and for helping the liberated slaves. At present, owing to the suppression of the traffic at sea, the gangs had increased enormously by land. The Arab traders said that last year was the best year they had had, because they were able so easily to elude pursuit. Besides, it was much cheaper to convey slaves by land 1221 than by sea. For about $1½ the Arab slave trader could convey a slave by this inland route instead of paying $2½ for Customs dues alone, in addition to freight. The great difficulty was how to suppress this land traffic. Should we plant our flag on the Eastern shores of Africa and found an Eastern Empire there? Or should we place British Consuls at various stations on the coast and give them power to stop the sending of slaves to the coast? The Sultan of Zanzibar was the superior of a very great territory, and through him he suggested that we might purchase land at different points of the coast at a very cheap rate. Each of these stations might consist of about 2,000 acres, and at these stations liberated slaves might be educated, might receive industrial teaching, enjoy freedom of action, acquire an improved civilization, and be taught to maintain themselves by daily labour. He trusted they would hear from Her Majesty's Government that stations such as he had suggested would be formed on the East Coast with a view to put down the traffic in slaves, and that steps would be taken to convince the Sultan of Zanzibar that it would be for his material interest to do all in his power to put down slavery. The question was one which ought to be dealt with and that speedily.
§ MR. BOURKE
said, Her Majesty's Government had no cause to complain of this matter being brought before the House, and certainly not of the mode in which it had been brought by the hon. Member for East Devon. For his part, he was always glad when the question was discussed, because without the co-operation of the House and the entire sympathy of the country it would be impossible for the Government to effect any radical cure of this great evil. It was a curious fact that on so important a matter public opinion had blown hot and cold; and no doubt the oscillation of public opinion had in a great measure prevented the carrying out of the policy of the country. That difficulty had been felt by all who gave attention to the subject, and by no one more than by Sir Bartle Frere, who, in his evidence before the Select Committee of 1871, made special allusion to the fact. He said the cardinal evil was the change of our own opinion in this matter, and that our Government, repre- 1222 senting public opinion, appeared to him to have been of late years very half-hearted in the matter. Since that time public opinion had very much changed, and from being cold was now, he (Mr. Bourke) hoped, becoming a little warm upon this great subject. The more they knew of the interior of Africa the more the House and the country would feel that it was their duty to resume, as far as possible, their old policy upon this subject: for he was quite certain that all the atrocities which they had read of for the last 40 or 50 years had not been overrated; and he believed that the desolation that had been caused for many years past, and which was still increasing in the interior of Africa, had never been too strongly described, and it certainly demanded the serious attention of every civilized nation in the world. There were some persons who thought that all our expense, and trouble, and anxiety, had been, in a great measure, thrown away, because the necessity of surreptitiously bringing the slaves to the coast aggravated their misery; but all the difficulties which now stood in the way in reference to the East Coast existed in the olden time in reference to the West Coast. Fortunately, those difficulties did not prevent a great and successful effort being made—the result of which was that the slave trade on the West Coast might be said to be entirely extinct. He hoped that as long as he held the office he now occupied he should disregard such misgivings, as coming from faint-hearted and irresolute men; for he was certain that if we were resolute and determined we should be able in the end to put down this great evil on the East Coast, and also, he trusted, in the interior of Africa. But they ought not to conceal from themselves the fact that the difficulties before them were enormous. An enemy had to be dealt with who was always on the alert; he had nothing to lose and much to gain, and there was no kind of trickery and chicanery to which he would not resort to uphold the nefarious traffic. It must also be recollected that it was not a very long time ago since in their own colonies slavery existed, and when it was remembered that slavery in the East dated from time immemorial they should not conceal from themselves that it would take a very long time to get people there to look upon the trade as a sin or as any- 1223 thing to be ashamed of. The more that was known of the interior of Africa the more difficult appeared to be the task before this country. Owing to the ravages of the small-pox and other causes, the demand for labour on the East Coast had greatly increased since this business had been commenced by the country. Various settlements were springing up where either the slave trade or the traffic under a disguise was carried on, and slaves might be carried to such islands as Madagascar and Réunion. Still, we had cause to feel satisfaction with the progress made within the last few years, and the Report of the Committee of 1871 gave very good reason for encouragement by showing that the inquiry on that occasion was directed solely to the possibility of stopping the traffic by sea, which was now entirely at an end. The Report also referred to the slave market in Zanzibar, which had since disappeared, and described a state of things which had ceased to exist under the Treaty of 1873. He could confidently state that the traffic by the sea route was stopped, and that the Persian and Arabian markets could no longer be supplied on the coast of Zanzibar. The Sultan had given up the export trade, and by so doing he had lost a revenue of from £20,000 to £30,000 a-year. He thought the House would see that the changes which they had made since the Report of 1871 ought to encourage them to go on in the same lines. The Treaty of 1873 put an end to the slave market and bound the Sultan to do what he could to put an end to the slave trade in his dominions. It called on the Sultan to do the best he could to put down slavery within his dominions, and when it was considered what the Sultan had accomplished he thought every one would consider that he had done all in his power. No one could have taken more important steps than the Sultan did last year when he signed a new Treaty with this country, the importance of which it was impossible to overrate. The reason was this, owing to the interpretation put upon the Treaty of 1873 by the Law Officers of the Crown it was perfectly possible for slaves, under the guise of domestic slaves, to be carried along the coast, and for the slave trade to be carried on in a disguised manner. Before slaves could be detained it was 1224 necessary to show that they were for sale, and the onus of proof rested upon the captor. The Arabs very soon saw that they could carry four or five slaves in their dhows under the pretence of their being domestic slaves, and yet it was impossible for the captors to prove that they were for sale. The object of the new Treaty was to cure this defect. It provided that no matter whether a slave was a domestic slave or not, or if he were for sale or not, if he was serving on board a dhow against his will, he might be captured, taken to a Consular Court, and receive his liberty. By this means he hoped that the slave trade which was springing up owing to a defect in the Treaty of 1873 would be effectually stopped by the Treaty of 1875. At the same time, he was anxious that the House should believe that the land traffic was of a serious character, and so far from thinking that hon. Members who had spoken had exaggerated, he was inclined to think that they had underrated the numbers of slaves that proceeded along the land route. It was also caused by the great scarcity of land labour which had sprung up along the whole of the coast, and also in Madagascar. He had no doubt that if the Sultan of Zanzibar saw his way to going further than he had hitherto done in the way of prohibiting the slave trade in his dominions that he would do so, and, in that event, it would be possible to stop the traffic entirely. That the traffic did exist at present there could be no doubt, and so long as it did exist all the horrors they had read of and all the desolation which they had heard of in regard to the interior of Africa must go on. There could be no change so long as the Arabs had access to the interior of Africa and could carry on the trade from there. Unless they could persuade the Sultan in the first instance, and afterwards the people on the south coast, to see that it was their interest not to have slave labour, and unless they could further persuade other persons not to engage in the trade on the coast, he believed that the traffic would go on for some time. But the Government had great hopes, from certain signs which had come under their notice, both privately and officially, that the interior of the country would be opened up to legitimate trade some day perhaps not very far distant. The Government had 1225 directed our Consuls to give every facility in their power to private ventures in the direction of legitimate trade, and he believed that the result would be the opening up of a trade which would stop the slave traffic. One circumstance which had taken place at Zanzibar was deserving of notice. The Sultan had only a few weeks ago abolished the status of slavery in certain parts of his dominions, and that was a very great advance. He did not wish to conceal from the House that this resolution had been adopted with regard to a portion of his dominion where, he was afraid, that the Sultan was not in a position to carry out his intentions; but still it was a great step in advance, and would show the Arab slave dealers and the Sultan's own Chiefs that the Sultan was in earnest in putting down not only the slave trade but slavery itself. With regard to the valuable suggestions of the hon. Member for East Devon, the Government had no intention of making any territorial acquisition; but there was no reason why they should not sanction the purchase of a certain area of land for the purpose of establishing places to which emancipated slaves might go. They had received great encouragement to proceed on these lines from what had been done by the Church Missionary Society, who had already been of great service to the Government and to the cause of emancipation. To show this he read a letter from Consul General Smith, who was acting with Dr. Kirk last year, and which contained an account of the manner in which a cargo of 241 liberated slaves had been dealt with. The House would see that the Government was much indebted to the Society, and it had, therefore, given favourable consideration to its request that a Consul should be appointed at Mombas. The matter was now before the Secretary of State, and the proposal of the Foreign Office when made would require the sanction of the Treasury; and, though he was not prepared to say what the result would be, he hoped that satisfactory arrangements would be made. Care, of course, must be taken that Consuls were not appointed in places where they would be exposed to personal danger. The expediency of assisting the Sultan of Zanzibar with a force to enable him to maintain order while putting down the slave trade would also 1226 be considered; and if such assistance could be rendered with the prospect of attaining the object in view, the Government would not be deterred by mere considerations of expense. He wished to bear his testimony on behalf of the Government to the zeal with which they believed they were served on the East Coast of Africa. He did not wish to mention names, for he might do injustice to those whose names were omitted. Every one, from Consuls down to the humblest sailor in the fleet, seemed to be anxious, not only to obey instructions, but to carry out what they believed to be the policy of the Government and of the people of England on this subject; and nothing would stimulate them so much as a knowledge of the fact that their trials and privations, which were very great, were known and appreciated in this country. He was also anxious to bear witness to the energy of the new French Consul, M. Gasparin, at Zanzibar, the more so as the French flag had hitherto been often misused for the carrying of slaves. To show how admirably the French Consul was seconding our own efforts, he read a despatch from Dr. Kirk, who spoke of a remarkable change of policy since the arrival of the new Consul. He had determined to put an end to the abuse of the French flag by Arabs and half castes and to make examples in serious cases, and already some offenders had been publicly flogged in front of the Sultan's Palace and were undergoing their additional sentence of a year's hard labour with a gang of chained convicts. Dhows carrying the French flag were being rigidly inspected with a systematic vigilance which was checking irregularities; and there could now be no doubt that the Consul's energetic action would exercise great influence on the Arab mind, and the French flag would be regarded with more respect and less jealousy. The Naval Commanders had established satisfactory relations with the Governor of Mozambique, who had offered his assistance in the pursuit of slave dhows in the Mozambique Channel, and Her Majesty's Government had thanked the Portuguese Government for the way in which the Governor General was acting. We were much indebted to the Sultan of Zanzibar for the assistance which he had rendered, and instead of putting any forcible pressure upon him, it would 1227 be wiser to carry him with, us in regard to our policy, because in that way the Sultan could do more than we could do, whatever force we might have at our command. There was no difference whatever in principle between the Government and those anxious to carry out the abolition policy. The only difference there possibly could be was with regard to the means of carrying out that policy. The question was receiving at this moment the attention of the Government, and any suggestions which were made would be carefully listened to and adopted if the Government saw its way to arriving at any good result. It must be borne in mind that considerable outlay was necessary for the carrying out of our policy with reference to this slave trade. The squadron could not be permitted to cease its vigilance, and it now cost nearly £200,000 a-year. Sometimes the Admiralty was accused of profligate expenditure; but he hoped hon. Gentlemen opposite would assist the Government to keep the Navy in such a state of efficiency that they would be able to spare ships to perform the important duties on the East Coast, as well as others which naturally fell upon the Navy. The whole subject was receiving, and should continue to receive, the attention of Her Majesty's Government, who were much indebted to the hon. Baronet the Member for East Devon for bringing it before the House.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, it would have been a misfortune if the means which were sometimes used to secure them a holiday had been successful, and the hon. Member opposite had not been able to make his statement. He thought there would have been surprise in the country if it had been found that they could not give a little attention to this important subject. The difficulties of attempting to stop the traffic were almost overwhelming. Success in one direction seemed to make the evil worse in another direction, and the only comfort they had was that the Government were doing all they could to stop it. He was satisfied that the Under Secretary was working with will and heart, and. doing all he could to render the crusade against the slave trade successful. When they heard that stopping the sea traffic had the result of increasing the land traffic, some hon. Gentlemen might think that it would be better to leave the matter 1228 alone. But that was not his opinion. He did not think the land traffic was so great as had been supposed. He was very glad to hear the promise held out by the hon. Gentleman as to the appointment of a Consul at Mombas, and as to the still stronger measures to be taken in conjunction with the Sultan of Zanzibar. He rejoiced that the Sultan had shown, to the disappointment of every one, an earnest resolution to put down the slave trade. It was not that people cared less about the horrors of the slave trade than they did formerly; they were accustomed to the West Coast, but it was some time before they realized the horrors of the East Coast traffic, and resolved to put it down. In reply to the appeal of the hon. Gentleman, he might safely say that there could be no doubt of the Opposition supporting the Government in any reasonable measure to stop the iniquitous traffic. If they left off their efforts now the wretched slaves on the East Coast would be left without any protectors or any help. They had undertaken the duty of abolishing the East Coast slave trade, and they would be dishonest if they did not persist in their resolution to put it down. He sympathized with the difficulties the Government had to encounter; but he was persuaded that they would not give up, and that they would be supported by the House and the country.
§ CAPTAIN G. E. PRICE
said, he did not think that the extent of the slave trade in East Africa had been exaggerated; on the contrary, he believed it had rather been underrated. Recent communications from Bishop Steere and from Mr. Young, an enterprising Englishman who had taken up his quarters at Lake Nyassa, showed that a vast number of slaves were brought across that lake on their way to the coast. There were but three modes by which the traffic could be stopped. One was by a sea blockade, but from its nature it could hardly by that means be entirely stopped. It was easy enough to capture the dhows in which the slaves were conveyed along the coast; but owing to a strong current which ran from south to north, when the monsoon came on, it was necessary for our vessels to leave the coast, and they often found it difficult to get to their starting-point again. Another difficulty was this, that when the commanders of the dhows found 1229 they were in danger of capture they ran their boats ashore, dragging the slaves through the surf and into the bush; and the slaves were such abject creatures, worn down by sickness and hunger, that they never thought of making the slightest resistance. If, however, a depôt were established well to the North the liberated slaves might be kept there until the passing of the monsoon, when they could be brought to whatever settlement might have been provided for them on the coast. The difficulties of the land blockade were great, but not insuperable. From the eastern extremity of Lake Nyassa to the mouth of the Zambesi, 800 miles, the whole line was in our hands, the tribes were favourable to us, and a very small force of Englishmen would be able to stop the slave traffic which was carried on at a particular point across the lake. The slave dealers could not go to the North, for not only would it carry them a long way out of their direct route, but the country was at present occupied by a race of Kaffirs who had taken up their quarters there within the last two years, and who were neither a slave-owning nor a slave-dealing tribe. Another way would be by entering into negotiations with the Powers who had settlements on the coast, but it would be a delicate matter to deal with the Portuguese. They supposed that we were dealing unjustly with them on this subject, and in some letters recently published in the London papers they assured us that they had put an entire stop to slavery of every kind on the West Coast, but no reference was made to the East Coast; and recent information of the escape of seven dhows with 250 slaves each from the harbour of Mozambique, and which, notwithstanding pursuit by a Portuguese gun boat, contrived to get away to Madagascar, showed that the slave trade with that island had not been suppressed. In his opinion, too great importance could not be attached to the putting down of domestic slavery. Most of the slaves captured on the East Coast were marked on the shoulder by sores entirely caused by carrying down merchandize, especially ivory, to the coast. It might be thought that one of the easiest ways of bringing down merchandise would be by means of that great watercourse, the Zambesi, and so it would be but for the heavy and almost prohibitive duties im- 1230 posed by the Portuguese, which it was most desirable, if possible, to get reduced. The value of the ivory which a slave could carry down the coast used to be greater than the value of the slave himself. The whole subject was a most important and interesting one from other points of view besides its philanthropic aspect, and any light that could be thrown upon it would be valuable.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
expressed his satisfaction at the speech of the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs. There was, he thought, some truth in the remark that in the eager pursuit of wealth there had been some relaxation of the national conscience in regard to the slave trade. The hon. Gentleman had expressed the sanguine hope that, as they had put down the slave trade on the West Coast of Africa, so they should put it down on the East Coast. That abominable traffic by sea, he was inclined to think, had been diverted and interrupted, but he did not gather that it had been suppressed. From Mozambique it still continued, and as regarded the trade formerly carried on from Zanzibar, and now diverted to other channels, that traffic was not only a land traffic, but partly also one by sea. The Under Secretary hoped that the Navy, by supplying the necessary vessels, would assist in the suppression of the East African Slave Trade; and if it should cost an additional halfpenny in the pound on the income tax to effect that object, he trusted that means would be adopted to accomplish it. The slaves which were captured and taken to our colonies were only nominally set free. They were indentured to the planters under contracts of what he must call compulsory labour; and their position was, to some extent, one of modified slavery. He thought it would be most desirable that we should establish a foothold in East Africa where the released slaves should be really free, and an example of free labour should be set to all the neighbouring countries. It might not be difficult by purchase and negotiation to obtain on the East Coast of Africa a small colony, which would be the centre and nucleus of a very great work for humanity, just as we now had various small settlements on the West Coast. We should not incur the same risk of an Ashantee war, or encounter the same difficulty in securing access to the inte- 1231 rior from the East Coast as we did on the West Coast of Africa. The Portuguese claimed a coast-line of some 1,200 miles, but they had only a few posts where they exercised dominion, and the Sultan of Zanzibar had a great extent of coast over which he exercised little or no practical dominion. The possession of a small British colony in that region would enable us to check the slave trade more effectually where it had now assumed a very severe form, and was attended with more loss of life and greater horrors than had previously marked it.
§ MR. D. DAVIES
felt very much obliged to the hon. Member for East Devon (Sir John Kennaway) for having brought forward this Motion. Although, unfortunately, it was brought forward when there were very few Members in the House, and although the debate was not so lively as that on the Motion with reference to whiskey, yet he could assure the hon. Baronet that the country took very much more interest in his Motion than it did in the Motion brought forward earlier in the evening. He took the greatest interest in this question many years ago, and he trusted we should not be satisfied until we had liberated the last slave. He could understand that there were many difficulties in our way; but if foreigners perceived that we did not now take the same interest in the suppression of the slave traffic as we did many years ago, they would begin to think that we were wrong and they were right with regard to the slave question. He was sure that the country took a great interest in this question, though the Under Secretary of State might think that such interest was not taken. The little mishap of the Government in connection with the Fugitive Slave Circular showed the popular interest in it. It was the duty of every Government to look well after the slave trade and suppress it as much as possible. He wished that some more fiery speeches had been made on the subject; indeed, had he known it would have been necessary he would have prepared one himself. Although the Chancellor of the Exchequer was poor at present, the country ought not to grudge any money spent in putting an end to this disgraceful traffic.
§ Motion agreed to.