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three, a greater inequality than the opponents stated, and much more than they acknowledged to exist among the slaves in Jamaica. *

Mr. Wilberforce apologized for having dwelt so long on this branch of the argument; but it was that which was more important than all others, considering the question in a political view; and, though he could never, for a moment, allow himself to remain under the imputation of forming his own decision on grounds of policy, yet he held it an essential duty, in his situation, to do his best to quiet th-; apprehensions of the planters, and to convince them that the abolition of the slave trade, indispensible on every principle of religion and humanity, would not be injurious to their interests. After all he had said, was there any one so confirmed in prejudice as to maintain that the negroes would not keep up their numbers, if this were made, in any degree, a subject of attention? the reverse was proved by found reasoning. It was confirmed by unquestionable facts. In their native country, the negroes were prolific to such a degree, that by one of Our opponents it was said, that they could continually throw off fresh swarms, without feeling the loss of them. In America, through all her provinces, they had increased; they had increased also in Bencoolen; theCaribbs had increased in St. "Vincent's, and the maroons in Jamaica; the free blacks arid mulattoes increase; Dr. Anderson attests that the field staves themselves increase, and multitudes of particular instances of increase are stated in the evidence. The decrease is stated to be trifling, though no attention appears to have been paid to the subject. That decrease has been gradually lessening, and whenever J single oauseof it has been removed, many still remaining, it has altogether ceased. Surely, said Mr. Wilberforce, this forms, on the whole, a body of proof which is utterly irresistible.

Mr. Wilberforce now proceeded to treat of the consequences of the abolition in other views; on which he said, he would be as brief as possible. And first, as to its effect on the marine. He had uniformly asserted, that this trade was the grave, rather than the nursery, of seamen; he knew, he could rely on the fidelity and accuracy of the gentleman, by whom this subject had been investigated; but if his statements had wanted any authentication, they were confirmed beyond a doubt, by an abstract just laid before the House, of the Liverpool and Bristol muster-rolls. From these it would appear, that, in 350 slave vessels, having on board 12,263 persons, 264c were lost in twelve months; whereas, h> 462 West-India-men, having on board 7640 persons, 118 only Were lost in seven months. This fully equalled, or rather exceeded, the losses stated by Mr. Clarkson. There was no part of this whole subject on which the Committee had a more complete body of evidence than on this. Lord Rodney himseisdeclared, " the slave trade is certainly not a nursery "for seamen." Governor Parry's letter, from Barbadoes,' would never, he hoped, be forgotten. The evidence of Mr. Ross was clear on this point; and Mr. Edwards himself, whilst with justice he complimented his countrymen op. their humanity to the abject seamen who were left in Jamaica, shewed, at least, that they were so left. Sir George Young and Captain Thompson were very, and decisive as to the general ill treatment of the crews of Guineamen, of which, however, the single fact of their always wishing to (juil their ships fora man of war, whilst the direct contraiy happens in every other trade, was a more conclusive proof than the multitude of particular instances of ill treatment he had it in his power to adduce. The instance of Captain Hall was very remarkable, who being in the impress service in the West Indies, at a time when seamen were extremely wanted, not for active service only but to send home the prizes which had been taken on the 12th of April, having brought off 3c hands, whom he selected with care from a crew of 70, was reprimanded by his Admiral for introducing such wretches into the fleet, who were likely rather to weaken its -length, by communicating infectious disorders, than to render it any service. Nor was it only to the constitutions of fillers that this trade was injurious; it debased also and degraded their moral character. Captain Smith had declared, that" when employed to board Guineamen for the purpose "of impressing men, although he had boarded perhaps near "10 vessels, he never was able to get more than two men, "aid these turned out such cruel inhuman fellows, that, "although good seamen, he was under a necessity of difmiss"ing them the ship." But one of the most disgraceful illustrations of this charge, was contained in the evidence of Ms. Koss, who, having declared that his mind furnished him *ith a recollection of a great number of instances, wherein the Have trade had been productive of great destruction and nilery to the human race, both blacks and whites, stated the to which Mr. Wilberforce had been referring, marked, ube observed, with peculiar circumstances of horror! An African ship had struck on some shoals, called the Morant ^eys> a few leagues from the east end of Jamaica. The °Scers and seamen landed in their boats, carrying with them Jfmsand provision, leaving the staves on board in their irons ^shackles. This happened,in the night! When morning ane, it was discovered the negroes had got out of their lt0I«> and, stume to the Europeans! not satisfied with saving taetnsclves only, were busy making rafts, upon which they £e 2 placed

placed the women and children, the men, and others capable of swimming, attending on them, whilst they drifted before the wind towards the island where the seamen had landed. The minds of these, if, by thehabitsof the slave trade, they had not become hardened against every feeling of humanity, must have been moved by so interesting a scene: they would have been eager to repair their former cruel neglect, and to lend them, though late, their best assistance. But what was indeed the sequel? " from an apprehension that the ne"groes would consume the water and provision which they "f had landed, they canie to a resolution to destroy the lies' groes, by means of their fire arms and other weapons, and «« as the poor wretches approached the shore, they actually «* destroyed between 3 and 400! Out of the whole cargo, ,{ only 33 or 34 were fayed, and brought to Kingston, where "they were sold at public vendue." It is the charitable conjecture of Mr. Ross, that they were in a state of intoxication, when they adopted the above-mentioned resolution, without having first made an attempt to dispatch their boat to Jamaica for assistance, or a vessel to take them and the slaves off the island; adding his persuasion, that, if they had acted with common discretion, there was no necessity for destroying one of them. , But this, there w<i but too much reason to fear, was a supposition more of charity than justice} for there appeared no want of coolness and discretion, in the precautions they took, for their own safety. It would, however, be to no purpose, Mr. Wilbesforce added, to relieve the slave trade from this act of h^frtarity; the story of the MorantKeys was hut paralleled*, by that of Captain Collingwood ; and were you to get r'idfef these, another, and another, would still present itself.

The volume of evidence which lay before him, was filled with accounts of different kinds of miseries. His feelings were too powerfully worked on to allow him to stop; and he must shut up the book at once, or*^ must read the whole. Whilst he had been just reading to'them the story of the Morant keys, his eye had but glanced on the opposite page, and it met another circumstance of horror attending this trade, which had escaped him in its proper place. It related to whar were called the " refuse slaves:" what was signified by this term, he could not better explain to the Committee, than by reading tothfm some words from Mr. Ross. After saying there were, in the town of Kingston, a number of people who speculated in the purchase of the slaves, left after the first day's sale, for the purpose of carrying them to the country, and retailing them, he proceeded to declare, that he " had frequently seen the very refuse of the slaves of "Guinea ships, landed and carried to the venduc-master in a

very "very wretched state, sometimes in the agonies of death, "and there fold at very small prices, even as low as a dollar, "and that he had known instances of their expiring in the "piazzas of the vendue-master." The hare description superseded the necessity of any remark: yet these are the familiar incidents of the slave trade!

But there were other fatalities to which seamen, in this trade, were peculiarly liable. In the course of his inquiries, it had occurred to him to look into the list that was kept at Lloyd's, of ihe casualties that befel our shipping, and thence he soon collected the account, contained in the book he held inhishand, where, in some years, it appeared one, in others two, and in others three, and in one as many as fix, stiips, were cut off by the natives, or destroyed in some other manner. Such articles as these were every where to be met with: in short, the history of this commerce was written throughout in characters of blood.

Mr. Wilberfoice came next to the consideration of the effects of the abolition of the slave trade on those places by which it was most carried on. He alluded to Bristol and Liverpool, particularly the latter, of the commerce of which it had been usually thought to constitute.a considerable share. Long might she he rich and flourishing, provided it was by fair and honest gains ; and he was happy in being able to fay, that it was not by this detestable traffic that slie had risen to her present opulence; and that, not only because it composed but a thirtieth part of her export trade, but also because, from private information, as well as public documents, he was authorised to say, it was merely a lottery—profitable, indeed, to some individuals, but a losing trade on the whole. The delegates from Liverpool had declared, at the bar of the House, that, in order to give the merchants a.profit, he must be allowed to carry a greater number of slaves, in proportion to his tonnage, than he was permitted by the existing law; and in the accounts contained in the papers on the table, of the tonnage of ships, and the number of slaves they carried, the cargoes of a great part of them would be found to be below that proportion.

Of the commerce of Bristol, the slave trade constituted a still smaller proportion. For the effects of the abolition on 'hegeneral commerce, and on the manufactures of Great Britain, he would refer the Committee, once more, to the evidence of Mr. Irving, where they would find that the benefits of its continuance, in these views, had been extremely exaggerated. The medium value of British'manufactures, exported to Africa, amounted but to between four and five hundred thousand pounds a year, and there was no doubt but that the superior capital, ingenuity, industry, and integrity,

fthe British manufacturer, would command new markets for the produce of his industry, when this should be no more; but he should advert hereafter to this subject. He might have been warranted to call our exports to Africa a trifle, considering that the value of British manufactures, of late exported from this country, exceeds that of the most flourishing period before the last war, in the sum of 2,500,0001. One branch, indeed, of our manufactures, he must confess, was likely to suffer from the abolition, and that was the manufacture of gunpowder, of which the nature of our connection with Africa, drew from us as much as we exported to all the rest of the world besides.

He hastened, however, to another part of the argument, on which it would be necessary for him to take up more of the time of the House. By many persons it had been said to him, "We wish, as earnestly as you can do, to put an end "to the stave trade, but we cannot approve of your mode. "Allow it to be carried on for some time longer; for, by a "hasty abolition, you will displease the Legislatures of the "West-India islands, on whom you must, in fact, depend "for such a melioration of the slaves' condition, as, by in"suring the keeping up of the numbers, will prevent tbe "necessity of importation. It is by them the laws must be "passed for the protection of slaves, and it is by the magis"trates, and others in the islands, that these laws must be ** enforced * Now, said Mr. Wilberforce, I am directly at issue with these gentlemen; and though the effects of the slave trade on Africa, were not such as to preclude every idea of regulation, 1 should be decidedly of opinion, that the abolition was to be recommended as the best, and indeed the only certain, mode of so far amending the treatment of slaves in the West Indies, as to secure their increase. Mr. Wilberforce added, that he trusted he should prove that the mode preferred by these gentlemen was at once inefficacious and unsafe. In order to shew the inefficacy of any laws which might be passed tor securing good treatment to the slaves, it would be sufficient to acquaint the House, if they were not already aware of it, that the evidence of negroes is, in no cite, admitted against white men. The consequences of this would be obvious, when it should be considered that there were seldom more than one or two white men on a plantation; and, in the language of the Grenada answer, that "those who were capable of the guilt in question, will, in "general, be artful enough to prevent any but staves being "witnesses of the fact." Hence it had arisen, that when positive laws had been made, in some of the islands, for the protection of the staves, they had been found almost a dead letter, as was abundantly proved in the evidence before them.


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