« ПретходнаНастави »
80 many years so eminently entitled him was to us a source of wealth and power, (if it to.
ever had been a source of wealth and power Mr. Ponsonby gave his most cordial ap to any nation on earth,) had lost nothing by probation to all that had fallen from the ha obedience to the dictates of humanity, but nourable mover. He allnded to the despo had still been able not only to defend ourtism which had just been overthrown in selves, but to contribute-largely to the restoFrance, and observed, that the governments ration of the independence of Europe. With of Europe may rejoice in that just combina those powers who had not recognised the tion of power which has rescued them from propriety of abolishing the slave trade, he the thraldom of a single individual. Strange, would now take a higher tone than he thought therefore, would it be, if Europe, owing her it would have been wise in the day of their glory and safety to the interposition of Pro- distress, when, struggling with difficulties, vidence, should make so ungrateful a return they looked to this country; for he would as to join in the infliction of misery on her take a higher tone with them for this reason, fellow-creatures. He would add, that that were they in some sort dependent on us, a power which had endeavoured to found an
strong remonstrance on this subject would excuse for the slave trade, on motives of hul have gone with too much of authority; but manity, had itself been guilty of a most dis now that the danger was past, and they had graceful offence against humanity. Such recovered their independence, we might aslanguage was a mean, malignant, and rana sume a loftier tone without appearing to incorous attempt to combine the attributes of sult them, by holding out a threat if they virtue with an endeavour to increase the mi. refused to comply with our wishes. Spain series of the human race.
and Portugal could now defend themselves Mr. Canning rose, not to express his senti without our assistance, and they could dements on the abolition of the slave trade, that cline attending to our representations withwas unnecessary, as they were already known out fear of being abandoned to ruin, This to the house; he rose to declare it to be his then was the time when we could speak with opinion, that the vote which they were about most freedom; for, as we could urge it with to come to this night would not be a barren more of delicacy than formerly, so we could vote, but one that would materially aid the press it with more of firmness.
The happy great cause they were anxious to promote, adjustment of the affairs of the world, which Their unanimity on this occasion would not seemed now about to take place, would be merely support what they had already done, incomplete, if an attempt to put an end to but would do much towards persuading the the slave trade did not form one grand feagreat powers of Europe to unite with Eng ture of it. The technical consent to its aboland to put down the slave trade. Let it lition of those powers who were not actively not be said, when this language was held, engaged in it, ought to be obtained, as, it that the English were always vaunting of this were not done, their flags would be their importance in, and influence over, Eu.. abused by individuals belonging to other rope. On such an occasion they had a right countries, who would be ready to avail them
expect that their example and authority selves of this subterfuge to avoid punishment. would produce the happiest results, With The sanction of all the great nations of Euthose powers who had not acknowledged the rope to its being done away was necessary, injustice of this traffic in human blood, the and of vast importance, not so much for the authority of Great Britain must have some mighty power they possessed, as for the use weight, and with that larger portion who, they had made of that power. If their conapproving the principle acted upon by Eng şent were not given to the abolition of the land, feared the application of it in their own slave trade, things would not merely remain case, our example must prevail. The appre as they are in this respect, but the traffic in hensions they at present entertained, must be slaves would be greater than it had been for in a great measure removed, when they saw many years. The question then was, whethat we, after cutting off that trade, which ther the æra of a general peace in Europe
should secure the repose of Africa, or furnish traffic under another flag. He was glad this a new starting-post for the plunder and de- motion had been so ably supported by his vastation of that quarter of the globe. He right honourable friend near him (Mr. Ponhoped that the voice of the people, heard sonby), and the right honourable gentleman through that unanimous vote of the house, opposite (Mr. Canning), as the demonstration in favour of that which justice, which huma- thus made, would convince those persons to nity, and which sound policy, all combined whom he had alluded, that the legislature to recommend to every nation, would not was intent upon procuring the perfect aboliappeal to the assembled majesty of Europe tion of the slave trade throughout the world. in vain.
At a former period, when we recommended Mr. Marryatt could take upon himself to the abolition of the slave trade to the other state that those connected with the West powers of Europe, it was thought we ought India colonies were as anxious as any other to set the example by abolishing it ourselves. class of personis could be, for the universal It was under such circumstances that the last abolition of the slave trade. Unless the house peace was concluded, and reflections were and the country went further than they had then cast' on the advocates for the abolition yet gone in this business, though they had of the slave trade in that house, because such washed their own hands of the guilt, they a step had not been taken. That blot rehad done little towards lessening the evil mained on our character no longer. We which they proposed to remedy, as, while had now set the example. He was glad to the subjects of other countries engaged in it concur in the address, and he hoped it would at all, they did more in proportion as this produce a general and beneficial effect-becountry did less. From the report of the neficial even according to the most sordid African society, it appeared that up to the calculation as the trading interest of every year 1810, the average number of slaves ob- country would profit by it. He had been tained from Africa annually amounted to present at many of the debates which preeighty thousand, one half of which were car cluded the abolition of the slave trade in this ried away by the Spaniards, and the other country, which perhaps boasted the greatest half by the Portuguese. That traffic which display of eloquence (from the members then was formerly carried on in English ships, on both sides of the house) ever witnessed in was thus kept up in Spanish and Portuguese the world. Mr. Pitt commenced the march vessels. The abolition of the slave trade had of one of his speeches, by appealing to those produced one good effect, that of greatly me who would only consider their interest, who fiorating the condition of the slaves in the had no feeling but in their purse, and decolonies. The negroes were much better monstrated by arguments which could not treated, and the old system of having night be answered, that it was their interest to put and day gangs had been abandoned. I'he an end to a traffic so disgraceful. He had total abolition of the slave trade would be a then, with that eloquence which he so well glorious consummation of the happy events knew how to use, applied himself to persuade lately witnessed in Europe: and he thought them to do it. This argument ought now the Prince Regent could not be called upon to be held out to the deluded governments to perform a more grateful task than that
of Spain and Portugal, and to that most dewhich the resolution before the house went luded government which attempted to justify to assign to him.
the slave trade. They ought to be made to Mr. Whitbread said, those were deceived, understand that their interest required that who imagined every man in England wished this traffic should be no more.
He could for the abolition of the slave trade. Before not anticipate opposition to the motion; and he knew any thing of the present motion, it but for the desire he felt to express his own had come to his ears, that there were persons feeling on this subject, he should have in this country base enough to wish for the thought it quite unnecessary to add one return of peace, on account of the facilities it word to the able speeches of those who had would afford for carrying on this detestable preceded him.
Mr. J. Smith and Mr. W. Smith both not only the public war, which it induced, of spoke in approbation of the motion, which state against state, but of indiviilual against was then carried nem. con.
individual, and of family against family. June 27.- Lord Grenville called the atten. Throughout the whole range of territory, no tion of the house to that article in the treaty individual was safe for an hour against kidwith France which allowed that power to nappers, lured by the acts of European slave carry on the detestable traffic in human crea traders, lured by pretensions to witchcraft, tures an article which, though it declared by delusions, and by every species of wickthat the practice was contrary to natural jus- edness. I cannot paint to you the daily and tice, yet allowed that it should be continued hourly miseries which this traffic inflicted on for five years! Had an individual made such Africa---villages desolate-towns sackeda declaration, what would have been thought sovereigns selling their subjects-masters beof his conduct? Yet the honour of govern- traying not only their servants but the very ments ought to stand upon higher grounds. partners and children of their beds. This, Lord Grenville, in the course of a very elo und much more than this, was proved at the quent speech, which our limits will not allow bar of both houses : and it was the glory of us to go into, contended, that it was absurd this country, that by a brilliant though tardy to suppose that France would give up the act of justice, by a repentance sincere though trade at the end of five years, when she had late, it showed itself desirous to make the embarked much property in it, if she would only atonement in its power for all these canot renounce it when she had not a single lamities, by abolishing for ever the cause of sixpence employed in it; that England had so much misery. This was at length effectit perfectly in her power to have insisted on ed; and I am sure (speaking the sentiinents the abolition of the trade, for that France, of others as well as myself), there was no with her capital lost and her armies defeated, moment of my life .so happy, nor can there could not but have consented at any rate, be in this world, as that in which the abolias we had her colonies in our hands, it surely tion was effected. In proportion to this hapwas not necessary that we should give them piness was my grief to find that Britain had, up without stipulating for the abolition; and by her concurrence with France, declared that by not so doing, we had consented to that all this misery should be once again place those colonies in a much worse situa restored to Africa, to darken again the face tion than when we held them. Not to dilate, of that devoted country, and to cause those said his Lordship, on the mischief that would who had been taught to bless us, to curse us be done by checking the progress of amelio- to our face." The noble Lord concluded by ration in Guadaloupe and Martinique, the moving, that an humble address be presented -supply of the French part of St. Domingo to the Prince Regent, praying him to give alone would occasion a revival of the slave directions, that there be laid before the house trade to as great an extent as the whole of copies of all the representations on the part the traffic at the period of our abolition. of this government, during the late negotiaThis must be the consequence before that tion between it and France, which related to place could be brought to a state of full cul- the abolition of the slave trade, together with tivation by slaves. The noble Lord conclud- such part of the dispatches of ministers as ed by stating the effect which the revival of related to the same. the slave trade would have upon
the immense Lord Liverpool resisted the motion. He territory of Africa. “ I would,” said he, denied that the article of the treaty allowed " that all the horrid scenes of this nefarious a continuation of the traffic; it stipulated for traffic were as present to your Lordships' its abolition in five years. He contended minds as they are to mine. I cannot paint that we had no right to dictate morality to to you with all the vividness with which they France, or to go to war on that account. dwell upon my imagination, all the miseries Ministers had done every thing in their which that traffic inflicted upon that desolat- power to persuade the French government ed land; not over miles, but whole regions ; to renounce the trade, but the public opiniou
de in this
to those ist, who ind de uld not
in France was not sufficiently enlightened the motion 27.--Against it 62--Majority 85
Lord Holland had heard the noble Lord bassador, as neither the national character, triumphantly ask, was the abolition to be a
nor that of Talleyrand, were calculated to sine qua non, and was England prepared to inspire the slightest confidence in their singo to war on this point? He would answer cerity. The experience and remembrance that by another question : was France pre- of their conduct was too recent in the minds pared to go to war if we insisted on it? But of all the allies to encourage the hope of while the noble Lord seemed to feel the evading the treaty of Paris, but the court most dreadful scruple at degrading France of France expected, through its ambassador by the abolition, he had exhibited none at to sow the seeds of jealousy among the constigmatizing its conduct in the very phrase federate powers, and obtain from their disof the treaty. But was it a degradation to sensions some portion at least of the territories insist on the giving up a traffic of iniquity which had been wrested from her. The sub... and blood? But if the treaty was not put ject of maritime rights alone, if adroitly inin exact execution in five years, where was troduced, might occasion distrust and anithe means of enforcing it?' or was the noble mosity between Britain and some of her Lord prepared to say it should be a sine qua allies, and thus benefit France. Russia, notnon, and go to war for it? If not, the words withstanding her willingness to ascribe to were of no meaning. But in England we Britain her just share in the downfall of were several years shaking off the slave trade, Buonaparte, still retained the principles on and why expect France to do it at once ? which the Princess Catharine had acted, in Yes, but the trade was interwoven with our the establishment of the maritime confederacy whole system, and capital had been embarked at the close of the American war. in it on the faith of parliament. But France It was impossible that France could have was not to be degraded. No, but the noble selected an individual more calculated to Lord had degraded her by the words in which prosecute its views with success than Talley the traffic was described ; and most justly, as rand, a statesman of the highest class, and contrary to the principles of natural justice decidedly inimical to the maritime rights of and the knowledge of an enlightened age.
He was placed in a situation And after this, talk of degradation! He umusually arduous and delicate.
He ap hoped to see the interference of parliament, peared as ambassador from a nation which and 'the strong appeal of the British people; had jirst, been conquered, to whom terms and he was inclined to think that even in much more favourable than they could ex. France a spirit might be found superior to pect had been granted; that could not, with that of their government.
aný grace or reasonable pretence, interfere On the question being put, there were for with the deliberations at Vienna, and that
was still regarded by the confederates with great difficulties arose; diffieulties which too an eye of suspicion. The triumphant armies clearly and fatally proved that the councils of the allies, which had entered Paris, were and measures of the allies by no means coryet hovering on the confines of France, and responded with their late professions. As if his demands, or even the expression of his they had long inveighed against the ambihopes or wishes, were urged with improper tion of Buonaparte: as they, in common with eagerness or presumption, his country might their subjects, had traced all the calamities of be again overrun With respect to any plan Europe to his aggressions, it might have been of curbing the power of Britain on the sea, it imagined that they would have effaced that was necessary to proceed with the utmost first example of spoliation which had served caution ; for however desirous the emperor as his excuse, and have restored Poland to of Russia might be to establish a new mari- national independence. I need not remind time code, he could not be expected to urge my readers of the partitions of that unhappy it against Britain at the present moment, and country, and that Russia, Prussia, and Ausas coming from France he would view the tria, had insulted and divided Poland with proposal with great distrust. The talents, as little pretence of justice as they themselves however, and experience of Talleyrand were had been invaded and oppressed. The time equal to his situation, and were the more was now arrived when they were fully encompletely displayed in proportion as their abled to redeem theircharacters by one decisive exercise was required by the urgency of the act of generous policy. The emperor Alexoccasion.
ander in particular had voluntarily declared The grand object which the congress at himself the liberator of Europe, had disclaimVienna professed to have in view, was the ed every view of ambitious conquest, and restoration of Europe, as nearly as possible, promised the subversion of all the unjust and to the state in which it was before the revo- pernicious principles on which France had so lution, only changing that condition as far as long acted. The empire of Russia was al. might be deerned necessary, to strengthen ready enormous. The plan and policy of the the inferior states. The experience of the Russian sovereigns, from the time of Peter last few years had proved that the latter, un the Great, had uniformly been to mix more able to defend or protect themselves, must and more with the politics of western Eufall under the power of their stronger neigh- rope, and the last campaign had given Alex, bours in the case of another war. This truth ander an influence and importance unknown had been fatally exemplified with respect to to his predecessors on the throne. If Pothe small states of Germany, which had easily land were incorporated with his kingdom, submitted to France after the commence it would add to the extent of his terri. ment of the revolution, and thus enabled her tory; enable him to collect and organize the to contend with the great powers of Europe scattered nations of which his empire is comeven when combined against her. As France, posed, and provide him a resting-place, where from the general diffusion of a military spirit he might recruit and discipline those forces throughout the country, and from the im- which he had brought together from the remense resources that she would still possess motest boundaries of Asia. It was therefore when her prisoners were restored, was still the interest as well as the expectation of Euthe great object of suspicion and alarm to the rope, that Poland should be restored to a rest of the continent of Europe, it became state of actual independence. How deplornecessary to strengthen the states which bor- ably these hopes were disappointed will be dered on her territories. On this principle seen in the annals of the year 1815. Belgium, even in the treaty of Paris, had The case of Saxony was much more difficult been annexed to Holland. The settlement and important in a moral though not in a po and concerns of Poland, Saxony, and the litical point of view, than the case of Poland. smaller states of Germany and Italy, neces- The latter country had been for some time sarily came within the avowed purpose of divided, and in the possession of Russia, Aus the allied monarchs, and with respect to each tria, and Prussia; and therefore it might not