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of casting an imputation on the the steps which had already been constituted judicature of Jamaica ? taken, and the farther measures If these circumstances of unde- which it was the intention of gofended injustice passed unreproved, vernment to adopt. The order in it would go out to the West-Indies council, he said, for the improvethat the same error, injustice, or ment of the condition of the slavecruelty, might be committed again population, which had received the and again with impunity, so long sanction of their lordships in 1824, as the present abominable system had been sent to the colonies, with of law continued ; and, if the a view to call the attention of their House negatived the motion, it respective legislatures to the expewould set the seal of its sanction diency of adopting such measures on a great and crying injustice, as might be the means of introand do more than it would be able ducing into the colonies the prinspeedily to undo towards perpe- ciples of improvement in the
contuating the existing system in our dition of the slave-population genecolonies.
rally, which the order contemplated Mr. Horton having consented to with particular reference to Triomit that part of the amendment nidad.' The recommendations of which declared it to be unwise and his majesty's government on this inexpedient to censure the conduct subject were not attended with the of the court and jurors, the House success which its magnitude and divided, when the amendment importance demanded. Very little, was carried by a majority of 103 indeed, had been done in conformto 68.
ity to the principles of that order, The resolutions adopted by the by any of the colonial legislatures, House of Commons in May 1823, with the exception of "Grenada, expressive of the expediency of St. Vincent, and Dominica, in which ameliorating the condition of the two acts of considerable importance slaves, had not been sent up to had passed the legislature. By one the House of Lords, nor had any of those acts, in the event of any similar measure been hitherto pro- dispute with respect to the right posed in that House. They were of property in an alleged slave now communicated to the Peers, asserting himself to be free, the and the assent of their lordships to onus probandi was very properly them craved. Lord Bathurst (7th thrown on the claimant; and, by March) prefaced his motion that the other, a slave, when tried for the House should concur in these any offence, was placed in every resolutions, * with a statement of respect on the footing of a white
• The Resolutions were as follows: 1st. “ That it is expedient to adopt in those civil rights and privileges which effectual and decisive measures for ame are enjoyed by other classes of his maliorating the condition of the slave-po- jesty's subjects. pulation in his majesty's colonies.
3rd. “That this House is anxious for 2nd. “ That through a determined the accomplishment of this purpose, at and persevering, but at the same time the earliest period that shall be compajudicious and temperate, enforcement of tible with the well-being of the slaves such measures, this House looks forward themselves, with the safety of the coloto & progressive improvement in the nies, and with a fair and equitable concharacter of the slave-population, such sideration of the interests of private as may prepare them for a participation property.''
person. In the principal colony, those regulations which may imJamaica, an act had been passed, prove their moral and domestic protecting the person of the slave habits; those regulations which from arrest when going to market. may facilitate their admissibility to This, and another measure of less give evidence in courts of justice; value, were the only propositions and those regulations which may of that nature that were favour- tend to the manumission of slaves, ably received by the House of whether by the consent of their Assembly of Jamaica.
Another masters, or by appraisement under measure had been proposed to that proper authority. When all these House-a measure important in regulations should be properly itself, and still more important in classed and arranged, it was inthe consequences to which it was tended to send them to the various calculated to lead an act for ad- governments of the West-India mitting the evidence of slaves in Islands, with a view to their being courts of justice. He was sorry shaped and modified in accordance to say, however, that the propo- to the existing laws and usages in sition was rejected by an over- each. They would then be brought whelming majority; the gentleman separately under the consideration by whom
it had been proposed being of the different legislative assemthe only individual who voted for blies, that they might be enabled it. In the following year a measure to give their opinion on the seof the same nature had met with a parate heads, to agree to them, to less unfavourable reception. It was alter them, to amend them, to introduced into the House of As- recast them, or altogether to reject sembly in consequence of the re- them. If the last step should be, commendation of a committee, but in any case, adopted ; if the efforts had been rejected by a majority of of his majesty's government should twenty-three to thirteen: though prove wholly unsuccessful; it would among its thirteen supporters were then be for their lordships and the persons of the highest character and other house of parliament to apply consideration in the island. As so themselves seriously to the conlittle had hitherto been effected in sideration of what course it may conformity with the two general be most expedient to adopt, for the objects the present amelioration purpose of carrying their determiof slavery, and its gradual extinc- nation into effect. The resolution-of the resolutions of the tions were objected to on the House of Commons, and the order ground that their language, which in council; what was at present spoke of improvement merely as intended was to separate the various being “ expedient,” was much too points into whichthose objects might feeble for the nature of the be divided, and to classify them subject, and the necessity of the under distinct heads, viz. those occasion; that, though adopted, regulations which are necessary to they would produce no practical insure abstinence from labour, and effect; and that the three years, the
proper observance of the Sab- which had elapsed since they were bath; those regulations which may voted by the House of Commons, better protect the persons of slaves had furnished irrefragable evidence from violence; those regulations of their futility. Lord Calthorpe, which may secure their property.; regarding slavery as equally irre
concileable with Christianity, and of blind-fold legislating; he dewith the constitution, could not sired to know now, what would be help expressing his regret that the the nature of those other measures Commons had not passed resolutions which were to be resorted to, if the more conformable to the light in colonies continued contumacious : which slavery ought to be regarded, he desired to know what would be and that their lordships were not the effect of this first step, which now called upon to concur in opi- must involve all the others, before nions better suited to their own implicating himself in the consedignity. He certainly thought quences which might ensue from the House ought to
to declare adopting these resolutions. To that some higher principle than him it appeared absurd to adopt mere expediency sanctioned mea these resolutions three years after sures for the gradual extinction of they had been voted, without so monstrous an evil. By adopting knowing whether in the mean time these frigid resolutions, couched in they had produced any effect. a tone much below what an assem • Suppose,” said his lordship, “that bly like the House of Commons the noble earl (Bathurst) happens should assume, and still more un to be walking out with a right worthy of the House of Peers, par- honourable friend of his, and they liament armed the colonial legis- see. a man cruelly beating and latures with fresh inducements to abusing his horse; the noble earl's resist the measures pressed upon right honourable friend says to him, them, and encouraged in the plant- I saw that very man mal-treating ers an erroneous belief that be his horse three years ago ; I then tween the government and the great went up to him, and said to him body of the people there existed a in a very decided, and, at the same decided difference of sentiment as time, in a very dignified manner, to the propriety of ameliorating It is expedient that you should the condition of the slaves. adopt measures for ameliorating
Lord Ellenborough said, that, the condition of that horse, yet I amid the difficulties surrounding know that the fellow has continued this great question, not seeing his to treat his horse very ill; and own way in the business, and not what I wish you to do, my lord, hearing any body else who could is, to go up to him, and say to direct him in it, he would not, by him, precisely what I said to him supporting the resolutions, involve three years ago.' The noble earl's himself in a course not yet ex first inquiry would be, what was plained; he would not, in so deli- the effect of your remonstrance cate a case, take the first step, three years ago ? The answer without seeing what the second would be he laughed at me, he was to be. It appeared, that, abused me, he scorned my remonif these resolutions should fail of strance, and he used his horse exeffect, and the various bills to be actly as he had done before. Then proposed by government to the would the noble earl reply, ' Incolonial assemblies should be re- deed, I will not do any thing so jected, then parliament would re- foolish ; if you had at once taken sort to other measures to effect the the fellow before sir Richard accomplishment of its views : but Birnie, and charged him under he objected to this undefined style Mr. Martin's act; or if you had
even chosen to take the law into end to. The means by which these your own hands, and punish him objects are to be effected must be, on the spot, well and good. But in the first place, by the religious pardon me for saying, that I cannot education of the slave; and in the do so idle a thing as to ask him second, by getting rid of the most now to do what he refused to you objectionable badges and indicathree years ago.'”
tions of his condition such as the Lord Liverpool answered, that whip, the Sunday-market, and the objections taken to the resom other things which are in themlutions by the noble lord who had selves the distinctions that bespeak preceded him, if they amounted to his lot, but which surely are not any thing, amounted to this, that, necessarily attached to his situaon this important question, he tion, or justified by any general would do absolutely nothing; and plea of necessity. In the next yet it was allowed on all hands to place, I conçur most heartily in be most desirable to take some the propriety of that other beneeffectual steps for the mitigation official and most important princithe evils of slavery, and towards ple, the admission of slave-evi. getting rid of it altogether, as soon dence in courts of justice; and, as we could compatibly with the lastly, we must avail ourselves of safety of the colonies, and a those means of improvement and fair consideration of the interests education that have been indicated of private property.
He could in the orders in council, or of some not allow to that noble, lord that similar means. I am not at all the question was surrounded by disposed to look to the future condifficulties so extraordinary and duct of the colonial legislatures complicated, that he could not find with any thing like despondency : his way through them. The sim- and even if I did, I should still ple question, as it seemed to him, think it to be the first duty of which
every noble lord was called parliament to try the course that upon to discuss in his own mind, is thus proposed for the guidance was shortly this.--"is it desirable, of those legislatures in future. I or not, that the state of slavery in should still think it to be our duty our West-Indian colonies should to state fully what our opinions be ameliorated and improved by were upon the measures to be such a course of measures as shall taken for the amelioration and the lead to its final extinction, as soon education of slaves, and to recomas such extinction can with safety mend them to the colonial legisand propriety be effected ?" latures, for the purpose of their Now, upon that general ques- carrying them into effect. I should tion, he believed there would ex do so, for this reason--not only ist no difference of opinion be that the colonial legislatures are tween the noble baron and himself. much more likely to succeed in
And, if that be so," continued carrying any measures of the kind lord Liverpool, “I do not think into effect, but that it would be well that he and I should differ much that the slaves should owe these as to the mode by which that ame- blessings, greater or less as they lioration in the condition of the may prove, to the colonial legisslave should be effected, and the latures, jointly with the British state of slavery be at last put an parliament, and not to the British
parliament alone, acting without by the colonial assemblies, it will the concurrence of the colonial be for Parliament to consider and legislatures. To the colonists I determine at a future period, whenwould say, It is an object equally ever the occasion for its doing so necessary for your interests and for the honour of the British The resolutions were agreed to nation. But do you proceed in it without any
division. first. We, the Parliament of Great On the 17th April lord Suffield Britain, desire not to stand out brought forward a motion to proupon minor considerations and less bibit
persons in official situations important points. Our anxious in the West Indies from being wish is, that the slaves should proprietors of slaves; a motion, know that they owe the boons con- which, he said, had no connection ferred upon them, to the colonial with the emancipation of the legislatures co-operating with the negroes, and was directed not so authorities in England, and not to much to the conceding of civil any act of peremptory, separate, rights, as to the preventing of and absolute, authority upon the criminal wrong. It was the nature part of the legislature of Great of slavery to corrupt and debase Britain. We must not be surpris- the master, as well as to degrade ed, if they, whose interests are di- the slave; the corrupt influence rectly concerned in the general exercised on the minds of public question which these considerations functionaries in the colonies by the involve, whose prejudices and feel. possession of slaves, had rendered ings are engaged in them, and justice a mockery, and the obtainwhose property is liable to be ing of justice for an injured negro affected by their discussion, do not an impossibility. The report of travel quite so fast towards a con the Demerara commissioners alone clusion in favour of such proposals furnished abundant evidence. It as ourselves, who have no such embraced only the period from feelings or interests to consult. 16th June, 1824, to October in We have a right to see that those that year, during which time the parties do in this case what in our number of complaints brought opinion it is right, just, and under consideration was twentyproper, that they should do. But five. Of these, seventeen were we are, at the same time, to re cases in which slaves had commember, that we owe it to the plained of their masters. Twelve common infirmity of the human of these were punished for commind, to make a large allowance plaining, two were restored to for the operation of such influences their masters to be punished, and upon the conduct of others. Up- in two cases redress had been on these considerations I state, given. Next followed six cases in that whatever may be the ule which the masters complained of timate result of these resolutions, their slaves. In four of them, the we will be pursuing a true and slaves were punished by imprisoncorrect course by agreeing to them ment, and in two, by flogging. There
What may hereafter be was one case, continued the noble fitting to be done, if the principles lord, of a truly horrible nature, upon which these resolutions are which had before been brought founded should not be acted upon under the view of the public, and