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3

THE

HISTORY OF THE ABOLITION

OF THE

SLAVE-TRADE.

CHAPTER I.

CONTINUATION FROM JULY, 1790, TO JULY, 1791-AUTHOR TRAVELS AGAIN THROUGHOUT THE KINGDOM-OBJECT OF HIS JOURNEY-MOTION IN THB HOUSE OF COMMONS TO RESUME THE HEARING OF EVIDENCE IN FAVOR OF THE ABOLITION-LIST OF ALL THOSE EXAMINED ON THIS SIDE OF THE QUESTION-MACHINATIONS OF INTERESTED PERSONS, AND CRUEL CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE TIMES PREVIOUSLY TO THE DAY OF DECISION-MOTION AT LENGTH MADE FOR STOPPING ALL FURTHER IMPORTATION OF SLAVES FROM AFRICA-DEBATES UPON IT-MOTION LOST-RESOLUTIONS OF THE COMMITTEE FOR THE ABOLITION OF THE SLAVE-TRADE-ESTABLISHMENT OF THE SIERRA LEONE COMPANY.

It was a matter of deep affliction to us to think, that the crimes and sufferings inseparable from the Slave-trade were to be continued to another year. And yet it was our duty, in the present moment, to acquiesce in the postponement of the question. This postponeinent was not now for the purpose of delay, but of securing victory, The evidence, on the side of the abolition, was, at the end of the last session, but half finished, It was impossible, for the sake of Africa, that we could have then closed it. No other opportunity might offer in parliament for establishing an in, delible record in her favor, if we were to neglect

It was

the present. It was our duty, therefore, even to wait to complete it, and to procure such a body of evidence, as should not only bear us out in the approaching contest, but such as, if we were to fail, would bear out our successors also. possible, indeed, if the inhabitants of our islands were to improve in civilization, that the poor slaves might experience gradually an improved treatment with it; and so far, testimony now might not be testimony for ever : but it was utterly impossible, wbile the Slave-trade lasted, and the human passions continued to be the same, that there should be any change for the better in Africa ; or that any modes, less barbarous, should come into use for procuring slaves. Evidence therefore, if once collected on this subject, would be evidence for posterity. In the midst of these thoughts another journey occurred to me as necessary for this purpose ; and I prayed that I might have strength to perform it in the most effectual manner; and that I might be daily impressed, as I travelled along, with the stimulating thought, that the last hope for millions might possibly rest upon my own endeavors.

The committee highly approved of this journey. Mr. Wilberforce saw the absolute necessity of it also; and had prepared a number of questions, with great ingenuity, to be put to such persons as might have information to communicate. These I added to those in the tables, which have been already mentioned; and they made together a valuable collection on the subject.

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