« AnteriorContinuar »
Gr.Br. (1768-18723 Geo.l). House of Cambe you s.
S LAVE-TRADE, &c.
On Monday the 2d of April, 1792.
A GREAT number of PETITIONS* were presented, O praying for the ABOLITION of the SLAVE TRADE.
The Right Honourable Mr. DUNDAS presented one from the Inhabitants of the City of Edinburgh, and SIR WATKIN Lewes one from the Livery of London in Common Hall assembled.--Referred to the Committee on the Slave Trade.
Mr. WILBER FORCE moved that all the Evidence given on this Trade be referred to the Committee Ordered.
He then moved the Order of the Day, which was a for “ the House to resolve itself into a Committee of the whole « House, to consider of the circumftances of the African * Stave Trade.”
* The whole number of Petitions presented to this Day, was 508.
The House resolved itself into a Committee accordingly, Sir WILLIAM Dolben in the Chair: ,
MR. WILBER FORCE.--In entering on the great business of this day, a business in itself of the first importance, and which, after having so long occupied the minds of men, is at this moment the subject of universal expectation and solicitude, it is natural to imagine that I must feel no small degree of diffidence and apprehension. It is, however, a satisfaction to me to reflect, that it will not be necessary for me to take up so much of the time of the House, as I have felt myself compelled to do on former occasions ; for besides that I might well be content to leave the task of enforcing the proposition I shall bring forward, to the greater abilities and more powerful eloquence of those by whom I have the honour to be supported, the whole of this subject has been already so thoroughly investigated ; every part of it has been so canvassed and scruti. nized, that it may be sufficient for me now merely to refer you: to our past discussions, and to spare the House and myself the pain of a laborious and minute detail. · I have before had occafion to remark, that nothing has: tended more to prevent the impartial and candid confideration of our arguments, than the indiscriminate censures which have sometimes been really cast on the whole body of West Indians. There may have been those who, suffering their passions to hurry them to hasty and immature conclusions, have connected. with the evils of the fyftem, the personal character of every individual embarked in it, as being closely and inseparably alfociated; the charge rashly brought has been indignantly repelled; heat and acrimony have prevailed on both sides, reproaches and invectives have been mutually retorted, parties have been formed with all their consequent effects of prejudice and bitterness, the West Indians in this state of things have grown incapable of listening dispaffionately to the voice of reason, and many perhaps of the very best and most benevolent amongst them have been the most warm, because most conscious of the injustice of the accusations they deemed caft