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nuance of war? Undoubtedly they will; ready to admit, that in its principle it was to a certain extent; but, I flatter myself, not to be defended, and must necessarily by no means to the extent which gentle- be repugnant to the feelings of mankind; men may at first sight be apt to suppose: but such were the circumstances of our for I hope, from the situation of the West-India colonies, that the continucountry with which we are engaged in ance even of such a trade for some time war, that it is not likely we shall be much longer was absolutely necessary to their disturbed on the continent of India; and existence, and its abolition would be their from our naval superiority, I likewise ruin. On this subject he could speak flatter myself that the interests of the from his own knowledge, for during the East-India company and the public may last summer he had visited most of the be protected from any material injury by English islands in the West-Indies, and depredations of another nature.

could take upon him to say, that a great Mr. Dundas concluded with submit- deal of what he had heard in that House ting to the committee 18 resolutions, respecting the condition of the negroes, founded on the preceding statement; appeared to him to be unfounded in fact. which being put, were agreed to without It had often been said that by the irregudebate.

larity of a number of males and females

imported into the islands, and the excesDebate in the Commons on the Abolition sive labour to which they were exposed, of the Slave Trade] Feb. 26. Mr. Wilber- very few children were reared, and that force said, that the important subject of this was the reason that it became necesthe Slave Trade had been so often and so sary to import so many Africans every fully discussed, that he thought it un- year. He declared, that having viewed necessary for him to introduce any argu- the negro villages on many estates, he had ment upon the general question. The seen as many children in each, as could be motion which he was going to make, was, found in any village of the same size in in his opinion, so much a motion of course, England. This would serve to show that that he did not suppose any serious oppo- the necessity of importation might be grasition would be made to it. It was no dually diminished ; and the plantations be more than a preliminary to the renewal worked by Creole negroes, instead of Afof the resolutions, which were carried ricans. The condition of the slaves had last year by a considerable majority. He of late been considerably mended; the then moved, “That this House will on act for regulating the middle passage had Thursday next resolve itself into a Coin- been productive of very happy consemittee of the whole House to consider of quences; and many regulations had been the circumstances of the African Slave adopted in the colonial assemblies, tendTrade."

ing greatly to better the condition of Sir W. Young rose to oppose the mo- these poor people. He maintained, that tion. He said, that reflection, instead of in whatever related to the slave trade, making him desist from his opposition, this country could not act with efficacy, had served only to confirm him in his opi- without the concurrence of the legislature nion, that the question ought not to be of the islands; those bodies were exagitated at present, but thai it would be tremely well disposed to do every thing that prudent to defer the discussion of it to could reasonably be required at their some more proper season. Men's minds, hands; and more it would not be prudent to both at home and in the West-Indies, ask. He believed that there were not in were at this moment too much heated for his majesty's dominions a set of subjects sober and cool deliberation. In Eng- more loyal than the land owners in the land, and in that House, many exagger- West-India colonies; but he could not ated accounts had been given of the si- answer for the continuance of loyalty, tuation and treatment of the negroes, when the men from whom it was expected both before their departure from the were to be irritated, outraged in their coast of Africa, and after their arrival in character, and injured in their property. the islands; by these accounts the pas- They had been represented as brutal and sions of the House had been excited to unfeeling in their nature; many of them decide against the dictates of judgment had been bred at the first schools in Engand sound policy. He said that exag-| land, and were known when here to be gerations were by no means necessary to equal to the most humane or generous of render the slave trade odious ; for he was Englishmen. Few men were patient of [VOL. XXX. ]

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insults; and still fewer disposed to be had been found guilty of the perjury; strongly attached to those who would re- the other had been acquitted; but capt. duce them to beggary; there was a spirit Kimber's innocence had been established moving among the planters, to which it beyond a doubt. Upon the whole view of would not be prudent to give strength : the case, he was decidedly in favour of the by unnecessarily pushing forward certain amendment. measures at the present moment, they Mr. W. Smith said, it was not now inmight be driven to what they themselves tended to make any alteration in the rewould wish to avoid. He concluded by solutions of last session, or to proceed to moving that the words “ Thursday next" an immediate abolition of the slave trade; be left out, and the words “ This day six but only to renew those resolutions, and months” inserted instead thereof.

to carry them up to the Lords, so that the Mr. Buxton seconded the amendment. business might proceed before their lord. He said that the House by giving way ships. to the clamours without doors, instead of Mr. Dent was of opinion, that the firmly adhering to principles of wisdom House ought not to go into a committee and sound policy, might lay the founda- on the subject of the slave trade; for tion for the ruin of our happy constitution. though the resolutions passed last year Gentlemen ought to be on their guard contained various restrictions, the enemies against a spirit of innovation. Liberty of that trade avowed that their object still was not now in danger from its arch was its unqualified abolition. He wonenemy despotism, but from those, who dered that gentlemen would endeavour to under the appearance of erecting a temple force upon the West-India planters, printo liberty, were actually endeavouring to ciples which, however they might be destroy it, to overturn all government, suited to England, were destructive of the and establish anarchy upon its ruins. property of the planters. People should In England it once happened, that when be prepared for liberty before they could the people seemed most clai ous for li- | enjoy it, or make a good use of it. berty, the mace of the House of Com- Mr. For observed, that the question mons was declared to be a bauble, and was, whether that House would now prothe resolutions of the House dictated by ceed, or at once lay it down as a rule an armed force from without. He that they would do nothing whatever upon warned gentlemen against similar conse- the subject this session, although after a quences if they should show so little firm- long discussion, deliberate resolutions had ness as to be swayed by clamours without been entered into during the last ; aldoors, raised by persons who, under the though the subject had been in agitation idea of universal liberty, would destroy for between five and six years; and alsociety.

though they had from that tinie gone on Mr. Cawthorne wished to recall to the year after year, and had, as was natural recollection of the House the speech of the in the cause of justice, reason, and humahon, mover, when the last resolutions on nity, arrived by discussion nearer and this subject were adopted by the House. nearer to the point of truth, and from step Their passions had then been agitated, and to step advanced, until at last they came their feelings called forth, by details of to a determination, that the slave trade cruelties at which sensibility was shocked. from Africa to our colonies and plantaHad not these stories been believed by the tions should cease on the 1st of January House, he was persuaded they would not 1796. That was the object now before have agreed to the resolutions; and they the House. He then called the recollechad now been proved to have had no posi- tion of the House to the circumstances of tive existence in fact. The hon. gentle. the present question, and dismissed all the man being called upon to mark those per- arguments that had that evening been sons to whom he chiefly alluded, had par- brought forward on the hardships to which ticularised capt. Kimber, who had, in con- the planters would be exposed on the resequence, been brought to trial, and ho-vival of these resolutions, by observing, nourably acquitted. The two principle that on the bringing forward of the bill by witnesses brought forward to support the an hon. baronet (Sir William Dolben), prosecution, had been committed by the for the regulation of the middle passage, court on suspicion of wilful perjury, in these gentlemen and their advocates cried giving evidence on tlat trial; and they out, that if this bill passed, the trade had both lạtely been tried: one of them would be ruined. Had that been true, the House would not be debating the sub- that the parliament of Great Britain never ject now before them; as little reliance lost sight of the principles of honour, jushad the House on the suggestions of these tice, and humanity, that their government gentlemen with respect to the dangers to was honourable, that their pledge was the trade from the resolutions of last year; faithfully adhered to, that while they deand the question was, whether the House clared they detested anarchy and confuwould or would not go into a committee sion, they also loved the principles of real on Thursday upon this subject? It was liberty, that they sincerely wished for the said that the abolition should be with the happiness of mankind, and revered the concurrence of the legislative body of our rights of nature. Mr. Fox then observed, colonies, before it could be effectual. that if there were any objections to the Upon what principle it was that we were late resolutions in any particular part, to anticipate their refusing to concur with such objection would come regularly be us, he knew not; nor, if we had no in- fore the committee on Thursday, and could fluence whatever over them, and they then be argued; for as to the danger of were determined to thwart our intentions, agitating it, he confessed he differed enbow far it might be deemed prudent for us, tirely from those who expressed their apunder such circumstances, to continue our prehensions upon that subject; or, if there connexion with them, he would not now was any danger in that respect, it must discuss; but of this he was sure, that the arise from its not being agitated while House had power over the trade of this there was a difference of opinion ; agita. country, and could say under what regu- tion was necessary to set that difference at lations it should be carried on, and when rest. Indeed, he once hoped that the it should cease, or how long they would House would not now have had to debate suffer by an acknowledged evil. He ad- the question at all, and that the abolition verted to the observation, that this trade would by this time have passed into a law. was to be abolished by menaces, and He should not now pretend to anticipate maintained that nothing at any time, par. the discussion of the House of Lords; he ticularly at the present, ought to be more hoped, that their decision would be agreestrongly guarded against, than that of able to the principles of justice and huholding out to the public an idea that the manity; in the mean time, the House of proceedings of that House were influenced Commons should not slacken its efforts. by the dread of menaces, reproaches, or if the course of the discussion in the other even the loss of popularity; that their House should lead to such a length, or votes were the effect of compulsion, and should take a turn that would render hopethat the moment they dared to do so, they less the thought of its coming to a conwould rescind them. He trusted to God clusion this session, then he should advise that the vote of every one who assented the bringing forward of some other meato the resolutions of last year, was the re- sure that might give efficacy to the resolusult of conviction; he trusted, too, that a tions, which had for their object the imvote so much to their honour, and which mediate regulation of the trade, indepenhad entitled them to the applause of all dent of the total abolition in the year 1796. Europe, would not now be abandoned. Mr. Fox next took notice of the trial of He said he had heard it hinted, that a captain Kimber, on which so much stress time of war was improper for the discus. had been laid. He said he could have sion of this subject. He confessed he did wished that it had not been alluded to at not see the propriety of that objection; all, because it was not regularly before at all events, if it was an objection, it was the House ; but, as it had been alluded to, such as would be very well discussed in a he would only say, in the most constitucommittee; and then it might be deter- tional language he could, that as captain mined whether the circumstances of this Kimber had been acquitted, he hoped war were such as to call upon parliament and trusted that he was innocent, and, as to continue the evil of the slave trade. Mr. Devereux was acquitted also, he He should be of a contrary opinion, and hoped and trusted that he was innocent ; contend, that all the arguments upon the but he believed there were none in that danger of tumult and insurrection, would House who voted for the resolutions last not apply to the present subject. He year solely upon the representation of the therefore should advise the House to re- subject which brought captain Kimber gard the present as a very fit time to take upon his trial; if there were, let such perthis subject up, and to show to all Europe son vote, if he thought proper, against


{ {

the resolutions in the committee upon this | the proceedings in the other House should occasion ; at all events, the House had no seem to retard the final decision of the bureason for refusing to go into the subject siness beyond the period of the present this session. Upon the point of huma- session, it might be highly proper to innity, which had been so much urged on a troduce a bill to stop the aggravation of former occasion in favour of the West- the evils of the slave trade, pending the India planters, he must do the hon. gen- discussion on the final abolition. tleman who originated this subject in that The question being put, that the words House the justice to say, that he had al- “ Thursday next" stand part of the quesways allowed to these observations their tion, the House divided: full force, and that he had admitted the

truth of many specific acts mentioned in
support of the humanity of these planters;

Mr. John Smith


Mr. Mat. Montagu
at the same time, Mr. Fox said, he did
not see any thing in the nature of the traf-

S Lord Sheffield

61 fic of these planters, or any thing in the

Mr. Tarleton spirit of slavery, to suppose that those So it passed in the negative. who deal in it surpass their fellow crea- It was then resolved, that this House tures in the offices of tenderness and hu- will, upon this day six months, resolve itmanity, nor any thing in the nature of ab- self into a committee of the whole House, solute

power that was likely to exempt to consider the circumstances of the Afits possessors from the common frailties frican slave trade. of our species; or if these gentlemen had these feelings in so eminent a degree, these Impeachment of Mr. Hastings-Manaresolutions were so far favourable to them, gers Conduct approved.] Feb. 28. Mr. as to set them free from a station so ob- Burke, one of the members appointed by noxious. To return to the point more the House for managing the trial of the immediately before the House, he com- impeachment now depending against Warplained of an evil and an abuse which he ren Hastings, esq. informed the House, maintained it was practical to remove, and that, the Lords having met this day (beas he had before hinted, if the proceed- fore his majesty came to the House of ings of another place should be such as Peers) in the chamber of parliament, prenot to give satisfaction, that they would be cisely at twelve o'clock, which is much removed, and that the first resolution for earlier than their lordships have usually abolition in 1796, should pass this session, assembled for the purpose of going into then that House should substitute such Westminster-hall, their lordships, without other remedies as might meet their ideas having given any intimation to this House upon the regulation of the trade between of their intention to make this alteration this time and the period of final abolition in the time of their proceeding, went at Until these points should have been fairly about half an hour after twelve o'clock canvassed by argument, he trusted that into Wesminster-hall, before a sufficient the House would not pursue a step so dis- number of members of this House were reputable to its own honour and dignity, assembled for the purpose of enabling Mr. so dissatisfactory to the public in general, Speaker to take the chair_That, under as to relinquish their former opinion, or, in these circumstances, he (Mr. Burke) and other words, to tell the world at large, there such of the other managers as were prewas no sincerity in their declaration on a sent in this House, thought it their duty former day, and that they had completely. to appear in the place appointed for the given up even the gradual abolition of the managers in Westminster-hall, to be ready slave trade, and that they never would re- to go on with the trial, without waiting solve upon that measure at this or any for the usual proceedings of this House other period.

on the days appointed for the trial, and Mr. Pitt hoped there would be no diffi- , that the managers did accordingly appear culty in revoting the propositions voted in Westminster-hall and the trial prolast year. By renewing the resolutions of ceeded. And Mr. Burke desired to sublast session, and sending them up to the mit his conduct, and that of the other maLords, no member of the House was re- nagers upon this occasion, to the judge stricted from proposing such other mea- ment of the House. sures, as the delay in the other House The Speaker took a view of the proceed might seem to call for. If, for instance, ings of the House and cleared himself,


and all its members, and also the mana- ring the whole period of the trial, the gers, from any imputation of delay in ge- House of Lords have often had occasion neral with regard to their attendance on to wait for this House previous to their the trial of Mr. Hastings.

going into Westminster-Hall; but they Resolved nem.con. « That under the cir- are obliged to admit, that there has been cumstances above mentioned, this House in some degree a remissness in the attend. doth highly approve of the conduct of the ance in this House, which has sometimes right hon. Edmund Burke, and the other prevented the Speaker from taking the managers, for having taken such steps as chair at the hour when the members ought enabled the Commons to proceed on the to have attended. trial of the said impeachment.

“Your Committee have not been able to

suggest any measure which could in itself Report from the Committee to consider compel a more exact attendance in this of Means for expediting Mr. Hastings's House on the days of the trial, but they apTrial.] Major Maitland reported from the prehend that if the House should think fit committee who were appointed to consi- to follow the precedent in the case of the der of means for expediting the trial of earl of Strafford, this inconvenien. we would Warren Hastings, esq. and to report the beate Your Committee find, that the mode same to the House; that the committee of proceeding at that impeachment (as aphad considered the matter to them re pears by the journal of the 22nd of March ferred, and had directed him to report 1640) was, for this House to meet as a the same to the House ; and he read the committee in Westminster-Hall, without report in his place, as follows:

first coming into the House of Commons. “ Your Committee, in considering the “ Your Committee conceive, that the causes which may have tended to lengthen adoption of this mode would certainly prothe duration of the trial of the said War- duce the effect of preventing any delay on ren Hastings, have not thought them- the part of this House, and the probable selves authorized to suggest any inter- effect of inducing all other persons conference in the judicial proceeding on that cerned to be punctual at the hour apimpeachment: therefore although your pointed, Committee may have conceived that ar- “ Your Committee are aware that an obrangements might be made which would jection has been stated against the proprevent the trial from being suspended priety of adopting this precedent in the during a very considerable part of the ses- present instance, as it does not appear to sion, which has hitherto been the case, yet have been followed in other cases; but in they have thought it proper to abstain those cases it may not have been necesfrom submitting to the House any propo- sary: it has also been stated, that it is of sition upon that head.

importance that the House should be “ Your Committee have farther consi- ready during the time of the trial, for the dered, whether any arrangement could be purpose of advising the managers, should made by the managers, or by the counsel question occur which they, in their judg. for Mr. Hastings, which might tend to ment, might think fit to refer to the conbring the impeachment to a shorter issue; sideration of the House; but your Combut having duly considered this part of mittee observing that no such instance has the subject, they acknowledge that no mea- hitherto occurred, and thinking that if sure bas occurred to them for this purpose. such a circumstance had occurred, the

“ Your Committee have therefore li- discussion of any such question in the mited themselves to the consideration of House could not have taken place immetwo points, which they have conceived diately, they apprehend there is not great may tend to expedite the trial of this im- weight in this observation. peachment.

“Your Committee do not conceive that “First, the procuring a certain-attend- an attendance of more than five hours in a ance in this House at the hour at which it day, when that is really given, would be is to meet on the days of the trial. either in itself advisable or proper to be . “Secondly, the means of obtaining a requested; but they cannot help being greater number of days for the trial, than impressed with the propriety and expedihas hitherto been granted in any one ses. ency of obtaining more days in the week sion of parliament.

for the carrying on the impeachment, so “ Your Committee do not find that, du- that, if possible, it may be brought to a

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