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Sir F. Blake said, that the slaves in the West Indies suffered a great deal from the suspense in which they were kept as to the time when their slavery was to cease. He thought that a law ought to be passed, putting an end to it at a certain period.

Mr. T. Wilson declared himself hostile to any measure which should have for its object to set the slaves free at the expense of their masters. He very much doubted whether such beneficial effects would result from free labour, as some persons anticipated. He begged leave to refer the House to the example of St. Domingo. That island formerly exported considerable quantities of sugar, but now the free negroes were even unable to produce good sugar, and could only make a kind of molasses. He deprecated any interference with private property. The emancipation of the black population was a subject that ought to be touched upon very tenderly. If a compulsory measure were resorted to, the planters ought to receive compensation. The petitioners from London had, he observed, stated their willingness to contribute towards a fund for compensating the planters for the loss of their slaves, in the event of parliament thinking it proper to emancipate them.

fied when the intentions of parliament | their comfort and happiness. Ministers would be carried into effect. had established certain regulations for the amelioration of the slave population, and he thought that that ought for the present to satisfy the advocates of emancipation. The planters, it was true, had rejected the propositions of ministers, in which he thought they had done wrong; for their property would not, in his opinion, be at all injured by the gradual adoption of them. It was, however, by moderate measures alone that emancipation could be effected. It would be desirable, in order to afford the House an opportunity of estimating the advantage of free labour, that ministers should place before them the results of the experiments which had been made on that subject during the last twenty years. It was well known that manumitted slaves had been carried from America to Trinidad, where land had been allotted to them, and every opportunity afforded for improving their condition. A number of years had elapsed since that measure was adopted, and the House ought to be informed of the result. At Sierra Leone there were 39,000 freed negroes, and of these 16,000 were furnished with houses, and clothes, and land to cultivate. He was informed that general Turner, the governor, employed some of these negroes to work in the building of a new arsenal; but he was soon obliged to give them up, for he could get no work from them. If accurate information as to the results of free labour were laid before the country, it might tend to moderate the zeal of the friends of emancipation; for he was compelled to acknowledge that the zeal of some of those persons had led them to commit acts of indiscretion. Prints calculated to excite the passions of the multitude, had been put forth. One of these prints represented the flogging of a female, which took place in 1782. One word with respect to compensation. Beyond all question, slaves were the property of their masters. The masters, he thought, were placed in a very unfortunate situation, and ought to be pitied rather than reviled. Any regulations which might be adopted for ameliorating the condition of the slaves, formed no ground whatever for compensation; but he was decidedly of opinion, that compensation was due to the planters, if parliament should at once take the slaves from the planters; which, after all, he thought would be the best mode of dealing with the question.

Mr. Grossett said, that the House seemed to pass over entirely the state of slavery in which many of the natives of the East Indies were held; a slavery which was more abject and degrading than that in the West Indies.

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Mr. Hume said, that the only slaves within the Company's territories in India were dancing girls, who were bought when young for the amusement of rich persons. If however any of these slaves from their masters, there was no power by which they could be compelled to return; there was therefore, a great distinction between the state of slavery in the East and in the West Indies. He would appeal to the late chief justice of Bengal (sir H. East) for the correctness of his statement. With respect to the question before the House, there was no man who was more anxious to see slavery in the West-India colonies abolished than himself; but he was not desirous to have that great object effected in a manner which was more likely to prove injurious to the slaves, than to add to VOL. XIV.

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Sir Hyde East said, that having been | prietors to say, that their estates had appealed to by the hon. member, he could been held for a term of 150 years, under only state that he could give no informa- the sanction of law, and that it would be tion from his personal knowledge of the too hard now to turn round on them practice in the interior of India. With and say, that their property was to be all respect to those parts of which he had of a sudden rendered of little comparative any knowledge, he believed the hon. value. member was correct. He begged to offer a few observations on the question before the House. He was one of those unfortunate persons alluded to, who possessed property in the West Indies; but he had always thought it his duty to have it managed in the way most advantageous to the slaves. Three years back he concurred in the question for the abolition of slavery, and he had seen no reason since to repent the vote he then gave. He had also concurred in every measure for ameliorating the condition of the slaves; and, on his own estate, had directed every thing to be done with a view to that object. With respect to the last question agitated in the assembly of Jamaica, for admitting the evidence of slaves, he had recommended the adoption of it to his friends there, and though lately rejected, he had no doubt that it would ultimately be successful. In this he had acted from principle, not from any wish to ingratiate himself with the House, or the country. He strongly disapproved of the attempts made to inflame the prejudices of the people. The great object should be to do the most good with the least possible injury. It could not lead to any good effect to hold out threats. It tended only to excite opposition; for all public bodies were naturally riotous when other bodies interfered with what they conceived to be their rights. It was not, in his opinion, advisable to call upon government to enter into any particular pledge upon the subject. It might tend only to irritation, and no measure could be successfully carried into effect without the concurrence of those who were interested in its execution. It was desirable that instruction should be given to the slaves as much as possible, and it gave him pleasure to find, that throughout all the colonies the religious establishments were received with open hands, and without any instance of disapprobation. This was a proof, that when property was not concerned, there was no objection to any thing that could lead to the amelioration of the condition of the slaves. Where a question of property, however, arose, it was very natural for the colonial pro

Mr. Brougham said, he wished to advert shortly to what had fallen from his hon. and learned friend who spoke last, and also from the hon. member for Montrose. He denied that there was any intention, or any attempt to inflame the feelings on this subject. The petitions-he did not mean to say all, but the greater part -were drawn up with temperance and moderation. Any warmth of feeling that had manifested itself, referred only to that part of the subject on which there was no difference of feeling, either in the House or out of it; he meant the enor mous practical abuses that prevailed in the colonies. To the existence of these abuses they had not merely the testimony of travellers, which might be often too highly coloured. The strongest appeals to feeling were made, not in the writings of those who advocated the abolition of colonial slavery, but in the speeches of the colonial legislatures themselves, To the surviving commissioner, the other having unfortunately died, they were indebted for an account, which might be relied upon, of the most appalling details of the infernal system. But was it to be contended, because he (Mr. Brougham) spoke thus of the system, that he was therefore an advocate for precipitate and heedless emancipation. None of the petitions called upon them to pursue so rapid a course. By compulsory manumission he did not mean to intimate that the whole mass of slaves were, at once, and without further preparation, to be set free; but that, if a slave should become possessed of the means of purchasing his freedom, some provision should be made for compelling the owner to grant it, on a fair appraisement. That means should be taken suddenly to emancipate the whole mass, he did not now, nor ever did, maintain. For the slaves themselves it would not be the most advantsgeous way of proceeding. With respect to the work alluded to by the right hon. gentleman, it was written a quarter of s century back, and if, in the course of that period, he had seen any reason to alter opinions entertained so far back, he would not hesitate to avow it. It was stated in

wrongs inflicted on them. He could expect little from the colonial legislatures, until they concurred in carrying into effect the Order in Council. They who acted with him did not use the language of menace in the offensive sense. Their only object was, to intimate calmly, that if the colonial legislatures did not act, it might become a necessary duty on the part of the British parliament, to take measures for the relief of their fellowsubjects located in the colonies. Though ministers here might not think it expedient to pledge themselves now to any

a placard, handed about, that he, some latter. These were his reasons for years back, maintained that the mother auguring ill of the future. But, perhaps, country should interfere only with the the colonial legislatures were not so much abolition of the slave-trade, leaving it to to be blamed, surrounded as they were the local authorities to do all the rest. by persons less informed, and, of course, What he held, at the time alluded to, far more violent than themselves in their was, that it could be done more effectually opposition. In the parochial meetings, by the local authorities, as possessing so far from manifesting a spirit of concesbetter means of information than those sion, they called for more restrictive meawho resided at so great a distance. But sures, until, as they expressed it, the so many years having elapsed, and no slave population were reclaimed, and step having been taken by the colonial showed symptoms of repentance-relegislatures, he thought the time had ar-pentance, he supposed, for the dreadful rived when the mother country should no longer suffer herself to be trifled with. He wished to avoid the language of irritation: it would be improper upon such a subject; it would be peculiarly improper in that House. He must however express his great disappointment and surprise, that all that had been done amounted to so little. It appeared that only one of the colonies had adopted any regulation with respect to that most accursed practice, the driving system. The island of St. Vincent, in which it was adopted, possessed a population of only 9,000 slaves, while that of all the West-future course, still if it were intimated to India colonies amounted to 900,000; so that the relief thus afforded could be felt only in the proportion of one to every hundred. With respect to receiving the evidence of slaves, no change of any importance had taken place except in Tobago. At St. Vincent and Dominica an alleviation, but an imperfect one, had taken place; for the evidence of a slave maltreated by his master-a case in which protection was most necessary-could not be received. Both in Jamaica and Barbadoes, the recommendations sent out in 1822 by lord Bathurst, and the Order in Council, had met with a marked and peremptory refusal. It was rejected only by a majority of two to one: but even the majority confessed, that their support was grounded solely on the supposition that it was to be the last measure of the kind. Though the colonial assembly did not appear to him to have taken an enlightened view of their own interests, still there was, upon the occasion, a display of talent that would have done credit to any assembly. This he was ready to acknowledge, though he himself, and men far his superiors in every respect, had been made objects of vituperation. In this, however, he had for his companions the West-India body in this country. The bitterest of all the attacks were directed against the

the colonial authorities, that they were not opposed to some measure of relief, that intimation would, he hoped, have considerable effect. He was nevertheless, not so sanguine in this hope, as to abandon the motion of which he had given notice. But after what he had heard of the intentions of his majesty's ministers he was induced to pause in his intention of bringing it on that evening. Another reason for postponing it was, the knowledge that there was some information forthcoming, which it would be better should be previously before the House. He therefore wished to reconsider the point whether the motion should or should not be brought forward this session. This question he was not able now to decide. He must, however, repeat, that he was not satisfied; that he had no confidence in the colonial legislatures; and that, in his opinion, the measures suggested by government could not be carried into effect without the interference of parliament. He trusted, therefore, that he should not be charged with inconsistency if, after the recess, he should feel it to be his duty to press the motion on the House.

Mr.R.Gordon professed his acquiescence in the views of the right hon. Secretary, as to the colonies. He agreed with him,

that the colonial assemblies, as being best | May 1823, was then, on the motion of acquainted with the local interests, ought Mr. Secretary Canning, ordered to be to be first tried; but that if they kept communicated to the Lords at a conpertinaciously backward, coercion was ference. then justifiable. He was, however, opposed, on principle, to the interference of that House with the colonial legislatures. He wished to see the colonies governed either by their local assemblies, or immediately by the king in council.

Mr. W. Bankes agreed, that the sense of the House ought to be expressed in a tone which would make an impression upon the colonial assemblies. He deprecated menace; but if those assemblies pertinaciously refused to adopt measures for ameliorating the condition of the slaves, the House ought to take the law into its own hands. He did not at present name any time for such a course; but decidedly the day ought not to be a late one. He hoped that the colonists might yet take warning before it was too late.

CORN LAWS.] Mr. Brougham presented a petition from the operatives of the Staffordshire potteries, praying for an alteration in the Corn-laws. The learned gentleman described the petitioners as an industrious and suffering part of the population, and observed, that though there were many points in the petition in which he agreed with the petitioners, there were others from which he must withhold his concurrence.

The petition was then read. One of the allegations in it was, that the country was now in the rapacious gripe of the landlords, and ought to be rescued from it; and another that the landlords took sixpence out of every shilling that they earned.

Mr. Hume defended the statements of the petitioners. Cheap corn would cause the country to flourish, since every person who imported corn would be compelled to take our manufactures in return for it.

Mr. Robertson complained of the violent Mr. F. Buxton, in reply, said, that language used by the petitioners, and satisfied as many gentlemen seemed to be contended that there could not be a with the declaration of ministers, he greater grievance inflicted on the country could not help being entirely disappointed than cheap bread. Who were to purchase with it. As for the picture which had potteries, if corn became cheap? It was been adverted to as circulated by the not cheap corn, but good rents, good friends of abolition, he repelled the accu- profits, and well-paid labour that were sation. They were incapable of degrad-required to restore the country to prosing themselves by sanctioning such pub-perity. lications; and he himself had never seen the paper in question but once, and that had been in the possession of a West Indian. He was pleased with the observation of an hon. member, which had called up the hon. baronet; because the hon. baronet's testimony settled the question as to the comparative state of the law in the East and West Indies. In the East Indies, if a slave absented himself six months from his master, he had only to go before a judge when taken, who at once liberated him from prison, and sent him to his duty; while, in the West Indies for a similar desertion, he was liable to be hanged or transported. With the general issue, however, of what had passed, he was little satisfied. The delay which was talked of would produce no good. Some trifling concessions, it was possible, the colonists might make; but all the main and most objectionable features of their system, the House might rely upon it, they would most obstinately adhere to.

Ordered to lie on the table, and be printed. The resolution of the 15th of

Mr. Calcraft referred to his uniform support of the lowest import price, when the question of the Corn-laws was before the House. At the same time he thought that those who fostered the prejudices of the people upon this subject, did not take the best mode of advocating their own interests. It was quite impossible to have a low price of corn with a taxation of 60,000,000l. a year. It was unfair to say that the country was in the gripe of rapacious landlords, and that they were the only obstacles to its having cheap bread. Give the landlords of England the same chance as the landlords of other countries, and they would sell their corn at as cheap a rate. He begged gentlemen not to hold up the landlords of the country to unmerited obloquy. They had long been renowned for the generosity of their character, and he knew of nothing

which they had recently done to forfeit that character.

Mr. Bennett said, that, on the part of the agricultural labourers, he put in a claim. They must be thrown out of employment, if the price of bread should be reduced too low; and, in legislating on the subject, the House was bound to consider equally all classes of the community.

Mr. Philips was surprised, that the hon. member for Wareham should say, that it would be a serious disadvantage to the country to have cheap corn. In his opinion, nothing was so injurious to commerce as the existing system of Corn-laws; and without commerce the country could not maintain its rank in the scale of nations.

Mr. Calcraft said, he did not advocate dear corn, but he had given it as his opinion, that it was impossible to have cheap corn with an annual taxation of 60,000,000l.

Sir T. Lethbridge thought, that every member would agree with him, that cheap and dear were relative terms. Cheap corn, according to the hon. member for Aberdeen, meant corn at four or five shillings a bushel. Now if the sale of corn at that price would enable the grower to pay the taxes, he should rejoice to let the country have corn at that price; but he thought that government would not be able to carry on its operations if corn were reduced to that level. He objected to the position that, supposing we permitted the importation of corn, those who imported it would take from us the value in manufactures. The position was contradicted by fact; for the corn that had been imported into this country had always been paid for in coin, the produce of the country.

Lord Milton observed, that the hon. member for Somersetshire had said, that corn imported into England was always paid for in coin, the produce of the country. Until the hon. baronet had given him that information, he did not know that coin was the produce of England. He was aware that there were some small gold mines in Ireland; but he had never heard, that there were any in England. He had always understood, that gold was imported into England, and therefore if the corn imported into this country were paid for in gold, that gold must first have been purchased by the industry and the manufactures of the country. Another hon. member, who had put for

ward the claims of the agricultural la bourers, and really when the claims of the agricultural labourers were put for ward in that House, he suspected that the profits of the landlords were the things really meant-another seemed to have an opinion that the agricultural labourers were interested in the dear price of corn. He was himself a landed gentleman, and he must say that it never could be made plain to him, that any class of the community was benefitted by the high price of corn, except the owners of the land. The farmer was clearly not benefitted by it: he obtained the average rate of profit for his capital, but all the excess of the price of corn in this country over the price ofit in other countries, allowing for the difference of taxation, went into the pocket of the landlord. That any body would maintain that the high price of corn was beneficial to any but the landlords, was to him a matter of the greatest surprise.

Mr. Gooch observed, that the declaration that the landlord alone was interested in the high price of corn was a declaration which every landlord could positively contradict. He was convinced, that from 50s. to 60s. per quarter was no more than a fair remunerating price; and that any less rate, whatever advantage it might seem to bring along with it, would have the effect of making this country wholly dependent on foreign growers of corn for the support of the people of England. He complained of the gross and violent language in which the petitions were generally couched, and which attributed to the land-owners a desire to keep up the high price of corn, no matter what inconvenience they occasioned to the rest of the country. He denied, on the part of the land-owners generally, any such desire. On the contrary they were convinced that their interests and those of the manufacturers must go hand in hand. He only wished to see the growers of corn encouraged; because he knew if they were not, the consequence would be, that, in the event of a scarcity, 4,000,000. or 5,000,000l. of gold would, of necessity, go out of the country to purchase corn. Would that, he asked, not do more harm to the manufacturing interests than fixing a fair and reasonable price, at which British corn should always be sold? If this country could be rendered independent of the powers of the continent for bread, he had always thought it would be so much the better; and with that idea he

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