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Slave Crade.



On the roth June, I&06,

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ani, Urteéinthe The following pages contain a faithful Report, thougļi in a more compressed form than that in which they were delivered, of the Speeches made in both Houses of Par. liament, on a resolution having been moved expressive of a determination to abolish the Slave Trade. It seemed to be highly desirable to preserve the lụbstance of these speeches, as a record of the opinions which, after near twenty years of deliberation and enquiry, were entertained by our greatest Statesmen, on one of the most momentous questions which perhaps ever agitated a Legislative Affembly

To the. Debates fome Notes have been subjoined, for the purpose of illustrating the important subject under discullion. It will be obvious to the intelligent reader that these notes embrace but a very limited selection from the vast mass of elucidatory matter which might have been brought to bear on this question. To those, however, who are not satisfied with the scanty portion of evidence which has been introduced into the Appendix, the references, there inserted, will be of use in pointing out additional fources of authentic information.


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In looking forward to the approaching session of Par

it may afford fome encouragement to those who are coxicitous to see a period put to the British Slave Trade, to know precisely what measures have been recently adopted with a view to the immediate limitation and ultimate extinction of this gigantic evil.

A bill was brought into Parliament, as early in the last fefsion as the circumstances of the country would permit, for cutting off some very important branches of this traffic. Its object was threefold: First, to give effect to the Order of Council which had been ifsued at the close of the last year, prohibiting, with certain defined exceptions, the importation of flaves into the colonies conquered by the British arms during the present war. Second, to prohibit British subjects from being engaged in importing flaves into the colonies of any foreign power, whether hostile or neutral: Third, to prohibit British subjects and British capital from being employed in carrying on, or affisting to carry on, a Slave Trade in foreign ships; and also to prevent the outfit of foreign slave ships from British ports. This bill was carried through both Houses of Parliament, by large majorities, and has passed into a law.

. During the discussions to which this measure gave birth, both Lord GRENVILLE and Mr. Fox, declared in fubftance, that they felt the question of the Slave Trade to be oně which involves the dearest interests of humanity, and the most urgent claims of policy, justice, and religion ; and that, pould they succeed in effecting its abolition, they would regard that Success as entailing more true glory on their administration, and more honour and advantage on their country, than any other

transaction in which they could be engaged.

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* An Order of Council has extended the prohibitions of this Ad to the recently captured colony of Buenos Ayres.


It had, for important reasons, been thought best by the Parliamentary friends of this cause, that the prohibition of the foreign branches of the Slave Trade should, if possible, precede a renewal, at this juncture, of their efforts for a total abolition ; and before the Foreign Slave Trade bill had passed through all its stages, the session was judged to be too far advanced to admit of bringing forward, with any fair hope of success, a bill for the more comprehensive object. But although it evidently becaine a meafure of prudence to poftpone that attempt till another session, it seemed highly desirable that both Houses of Parliament should, if possible, be prevailed upon to admit and avow those facred principles on which the propriety of the total abolition of this commerce is chiefly founded, principles long since indeed expressly acknowledged by the Commons, but respecting which the Upper House had hitherto declared no opinion; and that they should give a folenn pledge to the public that they would proceed, without any unnecessary delay, to the investigation of the great practical questions which remain to be decided. A resolution was therefore moved in both Houses successively, by. Mr. Fox and Lord GRENVILLE, to the, following effect: " That conceiving the African Slave Trade " to be contrary to the principles of justice, humanity, and found policy, this House will, with all practicable expedition, take

measures to abolish it, in.fuch manner, and at such time, as i all be thought adviseable..

This motion gave rise to the debates which are reported. in the following pages, and which ifsued in its adoption by both Houses. In the House of Commons it was carried by 114 to 15, and in the House of Lords by 41 to 20.

Both Houses also concurred in addressing His Majesty, that he would be graciously pleased to negociate with Foreign Powers, for the purpose of procuring their con


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