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and was encouraging the arts of honest and bloodless industry.
For his own part, he proceeded to declare, that interested as he might be supposed to be in the final event of the question, he was comparatively indifferent as to the present decision of the House. Whatever they might do, the people of Great Britain, he was confident, would abolish the slave trade, when, as would now soon happen, its injustice and cruelty should be fairly laid before them. It was a nesl of serpents, which would never have endured lo long, but for the darkness in which they lay hid. The light of day would now be let in on them, and they would vanish from the fight. For himself, he declared, that he was engaged in a work h« never would abandon. The consciousness of the justice of" his cause would carry him forward, though he were alone; but he could not but derive encouragement from considering with whom he was associated. Mr. Wilbct force added, let us not despair; it is a blessed cause, and success, ere long» will crown our exertions. Already we have gained one victory; we have obtained, for these poor creatures, the recognition of their human nature, which, for a while, was most shamefully denied. This is the first fruits of our efforts; let us persevere, and our triumph will be complete. Xever, never will we desist till we Save wiped away this scandal from the Christian name, released ourselves from the load of guilt, under wh ch we at present labour, and extinguished every trace of this bloody traffic, of which our posterity, looking back to the history of these enlightened times, will scarce believe, that it has been suffered to exist so long a disgrace and dishonour to this country.
Mr. Wilberforce then move.d, " That the Chairman be "instructed to move for leave to bring in a bill to prevent
the farther importation of staves into tiie Britifli colonies « in the West Indies." Colonel Colonel Tarlcton declared, that gratitude towards those Tarlcton. constituents who had sent him so honourably to that House, as well as a thorough conviction of the justice of their cause, impelled him to vindicate their character and property, although, perhaps, from experience, or inability, he might not be able to accomplish what he so ardently desired. The ingenuity, the amplification, and the pathetic eloquence, of the honourable grntleman, having worked no conviction on his mind, he sliould proceed to arrange the arguments he had to offer against the abolition of the slave trade. So many branches of the commerce of this country were connected and interwoven with the question, that it would be necessary to make statements, form several calculations, and read various extracts, to elucidate the subject. Throughout the whole of what he had to say, he should aim more at perspicuity than embellishment, and labour rather to convince the understanding than bewilder the imagination.
More he entered upon any part of the subject, he thought it rucersary, for the sake of clearness, and to prove to gentlemen, that he did not mean to e.vade or blink any strong part of the question, to enumerate the different heads upon which he was about to speak. He said, he should stare thebeginning of the trade, the sanction given to it by Government, the manner of conducting the trade on the coast of Africa, the transit to the West Indies, the employment and treatment of the negroes in the West Indies, the amount of the property engaged in the trade, the value of the WestIndia islands to this country, the eagerness which other nations have discovered to enlarge their slave trade, and the importance of the trade as a nuisery for seamen. He then went into an historical account, from the reign of Queen Elizabeth down to the present time, quoting his authority, 2nd dwelling some time on this part of the subject.
Colonel Tarleton next came to the sanction of Parliament, which had always countenanced the trade, and couid not, without a breach of faith, be withdrawn; and here he recollected what had fallen from a right honourable gentleman on a former occasion, and which he thought applicable to those concerned in the African trade; it was, that upon no occasion, short of absolute necessity, ought private property to be seized by public acts, without granting a compensation. The Colonel contended, that the Africans themselves had no objections to the trade; and many people who were prejudiced against it, had been led away by mistaken humanity, and often by misrepresentation. With regard td the number of deaths which happened on the passage, he had access to «amine, and could distinctly state to the Committee, that 'hey never had exceeded in the Liverpool ships, on an avenge, five out of a hundred, whereas, in regiments sent to tlie West Indies or America, the average was about ten and a half in the hundred.
Many attempts had been made to cultivate the lands in the different islands by white labourers; but it was experienced, 'bat from the difference of climate, and other causes, population had decreased, and that those who took the greatest P»uu to accomplish this, found that, in ten years time, they could not have any proportion of whites at all capable of purposes of cultivation. He therefore agreed in the necessity of the slave trade, if we meant to carry on the WestIndia commerce and cultivation; and he quoted the opinions rf Governor Parry, Admiral Hotham, Commodore Gardiner, "if Archibald Campbell, and a long list of respectable names,
in in support of the position which he had laid down. Next, he gave the opinion of that gallant officer, Lord Rodney, respecting the great advantage which accrued to the navy, upon the breaking out of a war, by having so numerous a body of mariners, inured to the climate, when we wish to send a fleet to the West Indies ; a circumstance worthy of attention. And from Liverpool alone, he sjid, the navy might be supplied with 993 seamen annually, from the best calculation that could he made; an object which certainly ought not to escjpe the notice of a wise Government.
Colonel Tarleton next remarked, th.it hiving received the indulgence of the House, during various stjtements, which, perhaps, hpd nothing of noveliy in them, but which were indispensably necessary, and which he had endeavoured to render as concise as possible, he would not much longer trespass on its patience. It could not, howpver, he trusted, be deemed superfluous, if he mentioned some circumstances to the House which he might have omitted, or which he had nor sufficiently enforced to attract its attention. He could wish gentlemen to* advert to the property and connections dependent on the African trade; as much dependent on the African trade, to use the language of a nervous and elegant writer, as a " bird is on its wing for food, and when wound"ed there, it starves!' He could wisti to impress gentlemen strongly with the recollection of the sanction which the African trade had obtained from Parliament. He could wish to remjnd-them of the length of time the question of abolition had been pending in that House. He could wish to give as m»eh "assistance as lay in his power, which he acknowledged, to r>e extremejv feeble, to accelerate that adjudication which, had been so often, anuTo earnestly, entreated by the numerous merchants and manufacturers of this country, whose interest had been materially injured by procrastination: and he trusted that he><ould not make a futile appeal to that House, when be cnVed upon its justice to extend an immediate vote of protection to the West-India planters, whose lives had been, and were, exposed to imminent and hourly danger, and whose property had undergone a severe and unmerited depreciation, notwithstanding the existing laws of this country, for the inquisitorial powers vested by the constitution in this House. To what could gentlemen ascribe that depreciation? To what could they impute the late insurrection at Dominica? which island the Governor lately pledged himself to held in subjection, without the assistance of the military, hut which was lately saved, from horrid carnage and midnight butcherv, by the adventitious presence of two British regiments? To wha% he repeated, could gentlemen impute this insurrection, but to the question of abolition r And, after a
tedious tedious investigation on that question for near .our years, he co~uldnot discover the slightest reason to justify delay, except gentlemen could not prevail upon themselves to decide, before jn insurrection had absolutely taken place at Jamaica, when thr sorrow, he had almost said the penitence, of the mover and abettors of the abolition, and the interference of that House, would be equally unavailing.
To gentlemen of great landed property, it was unnecessary for him to point out the tendency and probable effect of the proposed abolition. If he possessed all the eloquence aud ingenuity in that House, with those powerful auxiliaries, he should not be able to Convince them, that the abolition would lessen the national debt, increase the commerce of the country, or take one fraction from the oppressive taxes they now endured: but he believed they would give him credit, inexperienced as he was in that House, when he plainly advanced, that it would have a direct contrary effect; when he asserted, that the authors and abettors of the abolition endanger their honour, their property, and their happiness; and when he inferred, that the Minister, not being taken by surprise, must be supposed to have some capital resource in store, either from some novel calculation that the land tax would hear an additional burden, or from some inexhaustible source of unclaimed property, which had hitherto escaped the vigilance of his predecessors in office, and would compensate to the Public for such a diminution of the trade, and coniojuent defalcation tof the revenue of the country.
To the mercantile part of the House he must likewise uselangu.ige, which, £ was sorry to say, seemed consonant to ihefeelings of the authors and abettors of the abolition.— "Gentlemen, your success in trade has of late years been to "prodigious, that it seems necessary to suspend youracti"vity, by cutting off one of the principal branches of your "commerce, for the fake of humanity and the honour of the "nation. You are to have no farther respect for, or suture "confidence in, acts of Parliament. The sanction of the "Legislature is nothing. A few of the Ministerial side of "this House have been gifted with religious inspiration, and "the revelation has been extended to certain eminent pera fonages on this side of the House; and these enlightened "Philanthropists have discovered, that it seems necessiry, "fur the,sake of humanity, and the honour of the nation, "that all British merchants concerned in the African trade, "should have their designs harrassed, their property injured, "and their reputation traduced; notwithstanding such per"secution must undoubtedly foster, encourage, and aggrandize the surrounding nations of Europe, who rival Great Britain in her commerce and in her navigation."—
As the superstition and bigotry, in the thirteenth, fourteenth., and fifteenth centuries, which, during those dark, igtioraiir, and barbarous ages, threw down every barrier erected by reason and by juiticc, in the name of Heaten, let not a miltaken humanity, in these enlightened times, furnish a colourable pretext tor any injurious attack on property or reputation.
Uut if all the authorities which he had adduced were doubrful; if his prtmises were fallacious; if some of the circumstances of crueltry were proved, which the abolitionists have only asserted, and which, fortunately for this country, and happily for human nature, were unsounded, lie thought himselt gui!ty of a rash and impolitic measure in voting for the abolition, if he took only a cursory glance at the finances of England, and her relative situation with Europe. He could not bring himself to think this a convenient time, the country in an eligible situation, or the Minister serious in his inclination to make an experiment which presents a certain prospect of loss, and no probability of advantage. An abolition would instantly annihilate a trade, which annually employs upwarJs of 5,500 sailors, upwards of 160 (hips, and whose exports amount to 8oo,OOol. sterling. And the fame experiment would undoubtedly bring the West India trade to decay, whose exports and imports amount to upwards ot" 6,ooo,oool. sterling, and which gives employment to upwards of 160,000 tons of additional shipping.'and sailors in proportion; all objects of too great magnitude to be hazatded on an unnecessary speculation, which,* in'all human probability, would prove ruinous to the comlmercial consequence, to the national honour, and the political glory of Great Britain.
Ms- Mr. Gmficnor, having prefaced his speech with many comQrolvenor-pliments to the humanity and good intentions of the honourable mover, said, that he had read only the Report of the Privy Council, for he wanted no other evidence, and it appeared to him, from the delay of two years, that the honourable gentl-man himself must have great doubts of the propriety of his motion; for, if it was so clear a point as it was declared to be be, it could not have needed either so much evidence or so much time. Mr. Grosvenor remarked, that he had heard a great deal of kidnapping staves, and of other barbarous practices. He was sorry for it; but it stiould be lecollected, that these things were the consequence of the natural law of Africa, and that instead of declaiming against it, we stiould endeavour, like wise men, to turn it to our own advantage. Gentlemen had displayed a great deal of eloquence in exhibiting, in horrid colours, the traffic in slaves. He acknowledged it was an unamiable trade, so also