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witness of the state of Negroes there, which alone could enable him to form a just judgment on the subject. Agreeing with the Honourable Gentleman in the principle that the trade should be abolished, he would insist that the Bill proposed by him would, in its very nature, be impracticable, and produce a contraband trade to as great an extent, instead of the legal trade. He thought it exceedingly improper, that after the House had been nine years debating upon the subject, an attempt should be made to bring in a Bill for the abrupt termination of it. He inaintained, that the Slave Trade was beneficial to the inhabitants of the Coast of Africa, and that they derived advantages from it, similar to those we receive with respect to Botany Bay, and he concluded with giving his negative to the Motion.
Mr. Hobhouse taid, that he would not have troubled the Houte with a word on a subject which had been so often and io' ably discussed: but not having been before this session in Parliament, he had not had an opportunity of declaring his sentiments upon the fubject : they were these---that fo nefarious a practice as that of trading in the human kind was not to be permitted, pardoned, or palliated; that it admitted of no modification ; and that the Abolition of the Slave Trade was called for loudly by every principle of humanity, and every law of God. He was perfe&tly convinced of the practicability of it, and therefore he hould heartily support the Motion.
Mr. Martin said, that though he had often the mortification to hear it repeated, he could not help feeling surprised at the use Gentlemen made of commercial necessity and policy in this question, which had nothing to do with it: for it was a matter of eternal, unalterable justice and humanity, and not of commercial convenience.
Mr. Sewell said, this measure was inconsistent with the Ad. dress to the King, alluded to by Mr. Ellis: for if this took place, how could the Planters meliorate the condition of the Slaves? He asserted that the British Planters had an indefeasible right to cultivate the foil granted to them by the Crown, and to cultivate it with Negroes, till all the land in the islands was put into a ftate of cultivation
Mr. W. Smith reprobated the idea of the last speaker with respect to the right of carrying on the Slave Trade, till the whole of the West India Islands were cultivated. He observed, that it had continued for upwards of a century and a half in the Island of Jamaica, which was not yet above half cultivated, and if we were to go on with the importation of Negroes until the whole was cultivated, another century and a half would be taken up in the gradual abolition.
General Gascoyne was decidedly in favour of a continuance of the Slave Trade for some time longer. . . .
The Chancellor af the Exchequer said, that though the fubject had been so thoroughly discussed, that it would be inexcuseable to take up the time of the House with a repetition of former arguments, he could not refrain from recapitulating two or three points which had fallen from the Gentlemen who opposed the Motion. First, he must differ from the Honourable Gentleman who said, that this measure was inconsistent with the Address to the King on the same subject; on the contrary, he thought, that in their professed end they were the same, though they differed as to the means; and this measure, so far from counteracting, would aid the gradual abolition. And if the Planters failed of the means of supplying deficiences in their stock, it would be an incentive to them to meliorate the condition of the Negroes. But though that Address was brought for the professed purpose of a gradual abolition, if the House was to trust to the grounds now Itated by the Honourable Gentleman, it would appear, that it never could lead to abolition at all. As if the Trade was to continue till all the lands of the Islands were cultivated, and the House neglected to interfere, it would be making a new colony of Slaves---an idea which all deprecated, or affected to depre, cate :---for, whether it took place in a new Island, or in an uncultivated part of an old Illand, it amounted to the same thing-it would be establishing, in fact, a new colony of Slaves. The House would, with a little attention, observe too, in this decla. ration of ihe Honourable Gentleman, more than at first met the fight---they would see, that his statement, if it did not go to an extension of the Trade, would avail nothing: for he had before said, that when the lands were cultivated, there was no want of population. This, then, fairly led to a conclusive decision, that if the Planters were content with their present cultivation, all argument against the abolition was taken away. Another argument made uit of, was, that Parliament could not stop the Trade. First, he would ask, was it likely that example would do nothing ?--and next, if it ought to be stopped, was it enough to say, that because we could not stop it entirely, we would not stop it in part, or attempt it at all. When he saw that Gentle men who professed to admit the necessity of abolition some time, or gradually, had never yet shewn a disposition even to limit the importation of Negroes, or proportion it to an average of the decreasing population, he had little hope of a total abolition being effected. He preferred the adoption of the present Motion to that of the Resolution formed by the House before the holidays, inasmuch as the Resolution referred to the gradual termination of the Trade; whereas it was better to try whether
we had it not in our power to destroy it immediately, without affecting the safety and security of the West Indies.
Mr. Bryan Edwards moved for the resolution to be read; after which he vehemently opposed the Bill. He thought Gentlemen should look at home, where there were an abundance of objects in want of relief, as much as the African slaves. There were among others the Chimney Sweepers---a race of blacks. Why did not the House do something for them?
Sir William Young said, that the tendency of the present Motion was to enact a revolution in the West Indies.
General Tarleton opposed the Motion, and vindicated the conduct of the merchants of Liverpool.
Mr. Barbam contended, that the object of the present Motion was impracticable, and that its only effect would be to de feat the measure that had been already adopted.
Sir Wm. Doiben said, that, in his opinion, the measure now proposed was by no means inimical to the interests of the West India Planters : he entreated them and the House to remove from themselves the iniquity and stigma of the Slave Trade, or, at least, not to resist the principle of the Bill, but to permit its going into a Committee, where its objectionable parts might be improved and amended.
Mr. Fox faid, that, often as he had troubled the House on the present subject, he could not, after what he had now heard, forbear making a few obfervations. It was at length universally allowed, that the African Slave Trade was contrary to every principle of humanity and justice; yet, on former occasions, the authority of Aristotle, and of the Greek Philosophers, and even texts of the Sacred Scripture itself, were brought to support its justice. Nor was argument only resorted to, but long chains of evidence were produced, to confirm that opinion. But now that these Gentlemen were brought to allow a contrary principle, they turned their endeavours to frustrate its effect, from whence he argued little good to the public. For his part, he thought the continuance of the trade, after all that had passed in that House, must fix an indelible stain on the hu. manity and honour of the Country; and he would much rather see all our West India poflefkons loft to us, than that we should retain them by ceasing to wipe off the infamy of this trade. On a former occasion, when Motions were introduced into the House that violated the best parts of the Constitution, and abridged the liberties of the subject, he was severely accused for using the expressions, “ that not resisting such measures to hin appeared rather matter of prudence than of morality:" But now Gentleman seemed to adopt a language much more forcia ble, when they asserted, with impunity, that should such a law
as the present pass, wherever a sword could be found, it should be unsheathed to resist it. If such language was justifiable on the present occasion, and not that milder language which he had used on a much more important point, when there was a ques. tion of religning nothing less than our birth-rights, he must only suppose that resistance was never justifiable but when it was used in support of a system of slaves and slavery, while our dearest rights and privileges must be surrendered without a murmur or a struggle.
Mr. Fox said, that the trade in question was only connected with a branch of British trade, and as such might assuredly be disposed of by the House, without giving any just cause of exasperation to the Gentlemen more particularly concerned in it; but he despaired of any reform of this abuse, as much as he did of those abuses which we had to complain of at home, unless a general spirit of justice sprung up among us. If, in the present instance, the House paid any regard to its character, it would prove to the public that its proceedings, at length, began to be animated by that spirit which would not permit them to leave to the discretion of others the performance of a task which they themselves w:re bound in duty, and which they possessed the power, to perform. The House divided on Mr. Wilberforce's Motion,
Majority against it - 8 Adjourned.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Tuesday, May 16. Mr. Gore Langton moved for leave to present a Petition from John Palmer, Esq. praying for leave to present another Petition, (the time for receiving private Petitions being expired.) The Petition was brought up and read. It stated the grievances of which Mr. Palmer complained: it represented, that he had by great labour and industry improved the revenue of the Post Office to a very large amount, that in consequence of such improvement he was to have a per centage on the Post Office revenue beyond a certain amount, which stipulation had not been complied with.
The Speaker said, that the Petitioner had not confined himself to the statement of the reasons for presenting another Petition, but had entered into the circumstances of his case; that no Petion could be received, the tendency of which was to obtain Public Money, without a recommendation from the Crown. Upon the question for receiving the second Petition, the
Chancellor of the Exchequer faid, every person must see that the tendency of the Petition was such as had been described by the Speaker. At the same time, though he did not feel it to be his duty to recommend it from the Crown, yet he could not have any objection to the investigation of the circumstances stated in it.
Mr. Sheridan observed, that upon a subject in which the Right Honourable Gentleman was personally concerned, he could not but wish for investigation. Mr. Palmer had, in his opinion, done more for the public revenue than any other man. He hoped therefore, that the Papers would be referred to a Committee, and moved for a copy of the warrant of appointment of Mr. Palmer as Comptroller General of the Post Officee.
Mr. Sheridan's Motion was agreed to, and the Motion for bringing up the second Petition was withdrawn.
INCREASE OF PAY TO THE ARMY. The Chancellor of the Exchequer gave notice that on Monday next he should move certain propofitions for bettering the condition of the Army and Militia,
Mr. W. Smith said, if it was regular he wished to move for Copies of the Notice given to the Guards upon the subject of the intended improvement in their situation,
Mr. Grey said it was understood that a notice had been given of such a design in consequence of the recommendation of his Royal Highness the Duke of York. It was easy to procure such notice, and he thought it would be proper for the House to have it.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, he believed there was no official notice of such a design. It might be known that something was in contemplation in consequence of the recommendation of the Duke of York.
Mr. Whitbread said, that whether such Notice had been given would appear from the Orderly Book. Here the conversation ended.
FINANCES. Mr. Grey faid, that many considerations would have induced him to decline troubling the House with the propositions which he now rose to move, both of a personal nature, and, because he had repeatedly seen the little interest with which the majority of the House received any propositions which came from those with whom they were not used to concur. In determining, however, to submit to the House the resolutions he was now about to move, he had yielded to the request of his friends, and to a sense of what his public duty imposed. Having been a Member too of the Committee appointed to examine into the necessity and the causes of the Order of Council, and diffenting No. 37.