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sufficiently manifested by the gross ab- We shall quote the words of Paley, surdity of the conclusion, and a laugh as they were introduced in the Buxton been all the issue. But only to think debate by the words of CANNING : of men, rational men, being capable [The “honourable member" whom of gravely and deliberately publishing the secretary alludes to is the worthy such views, after they knew from ali brewer himself.] experience--ay, from the experience “ The honourable gentleman begins of blood itself—that the promulgation his resolution with a recital which I conwas virtually to be for the minds of the fess greatly embarrasses me ; he says, negroes in the West Indies, as well as that the state of slavery is repugnant to of the amis des noirs at home. Theft the principles of the British constitution, and robbery declared to be the unde- and of the Christian religion.' God forbid niable sins of the masters on whose that he who ventures to object to this fields they labour, around whose couch-, statement, should therefore be held to ases they watch ! The cool insolence too,
sert a contradiction to it! I do not say mixed up as if for the express purpose
that the state of slavery is consonant to of fastening a spur to the galled side the principles of the British constitution; of Fury! Absolute emancipation pro
still less do I say that the state of slavery claimed to be no other than the un
is consonant to the principles of the alienable right of man; and yet a calm,
Christian religion. But though I do not contemptuous argument, about the
advance these propositions myself, neveremancipating when! We believe the
theless I must say, that in my opinion pages of history may be ransacked in
the propositions of the honourable genvain for anything worthy of being set
tlemen are not practically true. If the ho
nourable gentleman means that the Briby the side of this glorious amalgation
tish constitution does not admit of slaof all that is feeble in folly, and all that is reckless in profligacy; and, to
very in that part of the British domi
nions where the constitution is in full pass over the Quaker, we venture to
play, undoubtedly his statement is true; hope, that when Mr Brougham quo- but it makes nothing for his object. If, ted, with approbation, in December however, the honourable member is to 1823, a toast about “success to the be understood to maintain that the Brinext negro insurrection in the West tish constitution has not tolerated for Indies," he laid upon his own shoul- years, nay more, for centuries, in the coders a burthen which no other man in lonies, the existence of slavery, a state of England (we mean no other held re- society unknown in the mother country, sponsible among rational men) would —that is a position which is altogether have run the risk of for all the wealth without foundation, and positively and of Potosi. We earnestly hope that practically untrue. In my opinion, when there is no other Brougham !
a proposition is submitted to this House, The dismal nonsense which lies at for the purpose of inducing the House to the bottom of all this has been so com- act upon it, care should be taken not to pletely answered in the philosophical confound, as I think is done in this resoand masterly pages devoted by the lution, what is morally true with what is Quarterly Reviewer to the true history historically false. Undoubtedly the spiof labour, and the changes which, from rit of the British constitution is, in its the nature of things, do in every society principle, hostile to any modification of take pluce, in regard to the mode of re- slavery. But as undoubtedly the British warding labour, that it would be worse
Parliament has for agés tolerated, sancthan idle to go into any part of that
tioned, protected, and even encouraged a argument now and here. In addition, system of colonial establishment, of which however, to the philosophical and his
it well knew slavery to be the foundation. torical answer which that able writer
“ In the same way, God forbid that I
should contend that the Christian relihas given to the great preliminary as
gion is favourable to slavery. But I consumption of the absolute criminality fess I feel a strong objection to the introof compelling any man to labour, we
duetion of the name of Christianity, as it shall take the freedom to quote three
were bodily, into any parliamentary quesseveral passages from as many writers tion. Religion ought to control the acts of the very highest authority ; passa- and to regulate the consciences of goges, one of which has been quoted vernments, as well as of individuals ; but before by Mr Canning, and another by when it is put forward to serve a political Mr Marryalt, but the third of which purpose, however laudable, it is done, I is from a work that was only publish- think, after the example of ill times, and ed in London about a week ago. I cannot but remember the ill objects to
which in those times such a practice was consequence of pronouncing slavery to be applied. Assuredly no Christian will de- unlawful, would have no better effect thap ny that the spirit of the Christian reli- to let loose one-half of mankind upon the gion is hostile to slavery, as it is to every other. Slaves would have been tempted abuse and misuse of power; it is hostile to embrace a religion which asserted their to all deviations from rectitude, morality, right to freedom; masters would hardly and justice; but if it be meant that in the have been persuaded to consent to claims Christian religion there is a special de- founded upon such authority; the most nunciation against slavery, that slavery calamitous of all consequences, a bellum and Christianity cannot exist together, servile, might probably have ensued, to the I think the honourable gentleman him- reproach, if not the extinction, of the self must admit that the proposition is Christian name. The truth is, the emanhistorically false ; and again I must say, cipation of slaves should be gradual, and that I cannot consent to the confounding, be carried on by the provisions of law, for a political purpose, what is morally and under the protection of civil governtrue with what is historically false. One
Christianity can only operate as peculiar characteristic of the Christian an alterative. By the mild diffusion of dispensation, if I must venture in this its light and influence, the minds of men place upon such a theme, is, that it has are insensibly prepared to perceive and accommodated itself to all states of so- correct the enormities which folly, or ciety, rather than that it has selected any wickedness, or accident, have introduced particular state of society for the peculiar into their public establishments. In this exercise of its influence. If it has added way the Greek and Roman slavery, and lustre to the sceptre of the sovereign, it since these the feudal tyranny, had declihas equally been the consolation of the ned before it. And we trust that, as the slave. It applies to all ranks of life, to all knowledge and authority of the same reconditions of men ; and the sufferings of ligion advance in the world, they will this world, even to those upon whom they abolish what remains of this odious inpress most heavily, are rendered compa- stitution.' ratively indifferent by the prospect of “ The honourable gentleman cannot compensation in the world of which Chris. wish more than I do, that under this gratianity affords the assurance. True it dual operation, under this widening difcertainly is, that Christianity generally fusion of light and liberality, the spirit of tends to elevate, not to degrade, the cha- the Christian religion may effect all the racter of man; but it is not true, in the objects he has at heart. But it seems to specific sense conveyed in the honourable me that it is not, for the practical attaingentleman's resolution, it is not true that ment of his objects, desirable that that there is that in the Christian religion which may be the influencing spirit should which makes it impossible that it should be put forward as the active agent. When co-exist with slavery in the world. Sla- Christianity was introduced into the very has been known in all times, and un- world, it took its root amidst the galling der all systems of religion, whether true slavery of the Roman empire ; more gallor false.
Non meus hic sermo : I speak ing in many respects (though not precisebut what others have written on this ly of the same character) than that of point; and I beg leave to read to the which the honourable gentleman, in comHouse a passage from Dr Paley, which mon I may say with every friend of huis directly applicable to the subject that manity, complains. Slavery at that pewe arc discussing.
riod gave to the master the power of life Slavery was a part of the civil con- and death over his bondsman; this is unstitution of most countries when Chris. deniable, known to everybody ; Ita servus tianity appeared ; yet no passage is to be homo est ! are the words put by Juvenal found in the Christian Scriptures by which into the mouth of the fine lady who calls it is condemned and prohibited. This is upon her husband to crucify his slave. If true; for Christianity, soliciting admis- the evils of this dreadful system neverthesion into all nations of the world, ab- less gradually vanished before the gentle stained, as behoved it, from intermed- but certain influence of Christianity, and dling with the civil institutions of any. if the great Author of the system trusted But does it follow, from the silence of rather to this gradual operation of the Scripture concerning them, that all the principle than to any immediate or direct civil institutions which then prevailed, precept, I think Parliament would do were right; or that the bad should not be more wisely rather to rely upon the like exchanged for better? Besides this, the operation of the same principle than to discharging of all slaves from all obliga- put forward the authority of Christianity, tion to obey their masters, which is the in at least a questionable shape. The
name of Christianity ought not to be thus Even among the Greeks, to Homer's used unless we are prepared to act in a age, it was little common; and this not much more summary manner than the ho- without reasonable plea of necessity. The nourable gentleman himself proposes. If conquerors had not means to maintain the existence of slavery be repugnant to. prisoners in idleness, and could not safethe principles of the British constitution ly set them free. In that state of the and of the Christian religion, how can the world, therefore, wars being continual, it honourable gentleman himself consent to was obviously a humane policy to provide pause even for an instant, or to allow any that, prisoners being made valuable proconsiderations of prudence to intervene perty, it should be the conqueror's intebetween him and his object? How can rest to preserve them. Such, however, he propose to divide slaves into two. was the kind of civil government which classes ; one of which is to be made free had its growth under influence of that directly, while he leaves the other to the early policy, that, even in the most fougradual extinction of their state of suffer- rishing times of Grecian philosophy, the ing? But if, as I contend, the British ablest cultivators of political science were constitution does not, in its necessary unable to say how society could be mainoperation, go to extinguish slavery in tained, how states could be ruled and every colony, it is evident that the ho defended, without slaves to produce food nourable gentleman's proposition is not and clothing for the rulers and defenders. to be understood in the precise sense
In this remarkable instance thus we find which the honourable gentleman gives to heathen philosophy, as formerly we obit; and if the Christian religion does not served heathen religion, holding consorequire the instant and unqualified aboli. nance with what is approved in holy writ. tion of slavery, it is evident, I apprehend, “ But the necessity for slavery is an that the honourable member has mistated evil peculiar to the infancy of nations. in his resolution the principle upon which Wherever the state of population and of he himself is satisfied to act.
civil society is such that slavery is no Our second quotation is from the longer necessary, or of important expeEssays on Christianity,” just pub- diency, it must be the interest, not less
than the moral and religious duty, of the lished by Mr Mitford, the admirable
governing among mankind to abolish it. historian of ancient Greece--clarum et
| Policy, however, though to be controlled venerabile nomen. The passage occurs in a work which will ere long be suf- by religion and morality, should not be con
founded with them. That slavery, authorized ficiently familiar to every one. At pre
by the Old Testament, is forbidden by the sent, however, it is a new, a very new
New, cannot be shewn ; and, if trial is the book, and therefore we quote from it.
purpose for which man has his eristence in “ It is unquestionably a Christian this world, the allowance of slavery, far from duty to improve the condition of man as being adverse, is an additional mode for both extensively as possible. The Jewish dis- : slave and master. Yet a serious considerpensation did not require this, but, on ation remains. To measure moral trial the contrary, by its limitation of inter for man is the office of almighty wisdom course, was considerably adverse to it. and all-perfect goodness only. It is man's Rules for the Jews, therefore, concerning duty to do as he would be done by; or slavery, as concerning numerous other as, were he in the other's circumstances, matters, will not be rules for Christians, using unbiassed reason, he must think and yet may deserve the consideration of right to be done. Compulsion from man Christians. The very first article in the to man, of any kind, though necessary in Jewish code relates to slaves ; and it every state of society, yet being allowable sanctions the slavery, not only of Gen-, only for common good, it follows that, in tiles to Jews, but of Jews to Jews; gi- one state of society, slavery may be warving different rules for their treatment. rantable, and even requisite; not for the If indeed dispassionate consideration be good of every individual, but for the gegiven to the subject, it will be obvious, neral good, even of those in slavery ; that, in the state of mankind in the early whereas in another it is adverse equally to ages, slavery was an institution, not only good policy as, not indeed to the direct of convenience, and almost of necessity, word of seripture, but to the principles of toward the wanted cultivation of the soil the Christian religion. Difficulty for lefor the production of food for increasing gislators, thus, in former' ages, has been, mankind, but really of mercy. Among and again may or even must be. The ready barbarians, from earliest history to this observation on this is that, so, both the day, it has been little common to spare legislator, and the slave on whose condithe lives of those overcome in battle. tion he decides, is subjected to the main Vol. XV.
purpose of the existence of both in this not fail to produce on every dispas, world, trial. Indeed the world being so sionate mind-We now proceed to that, constituted that, without evil, good deeds great question which the Quarterly cannot be, opportunity for evil is found Review has for the present passed sub everywhere; and tkus a national question silentio. about slavery may furnish scope for self-in- The question is indeed a weighty terest, vain-glory, and hypocrisy, equally as one; it is this : “ Has the British for the generous passions and corresponding Parliament the right to interfere with deeds.
the internal and municipal regulations Our third authority is one quite of of the affairs of the British Colonies in a different class, and meant principal- the West Indies, which are, and have ly for a different sort of persons. None, been, in the possession of constitutions however, will hear without some respect the words of Lord Stowell ; the del of the British Constitution ?" This
of their own, framed upon the mowords of him who has done more, per
was the question which British stateshaps, than any one man that ever lived, to remove the old reproach of lawyers; when the negative was maintained by
men once answered in the affirmative, whose life has been the triumph of an the British colonies of North Ameri-' intellect of the first order, exerted un
ca. This was the question which was der the influence of the finest taste,
over and over again answered in the upon subjects where elegance of any
affirmative in regard to Ireland. What kind was before thought to be unat
the result was as to these cases, we tainable ; where acuteness had been
need not say. Let Mr Marryat (there degraded into subtlety, and where law
is none more entitled to speak)* say had lost, if not the real dignity, the
what is his view of the matter as it apparent liberality at least, and appro
concerns the American islands, still in priate beauty of a science.
our possession :— It was in the decision of a celebrated
« For a long time past, the colonies, case, which came before the Court of either under royal instruction or royal Admiralty in 1813, that Sir William
charter, have enjoyed the privilege of Scott expressed himself as follows, in
making laws for themselves, in all matreference to the validity of a contract ters of internal regulation, subject to the affecting a purchase of slaves.
confirmation of the Crown. His Majes. “ Let me not be misunderstood, or ty's Proclamation of October 15th, 1763, misrepresented, as a professed apologist which may be considered as the charter for this practice, when I state facts which
of the numerous colonies, ceded by France no man can deny that personal slavery to Great Britain by the treaty of that arising out of forcible captivity is coeval
year, runs thus : with the earliest periods of the history of «'. We have also given power to the mankind--that it is found existing (and said Governors, with the advice of our as far as appears without animadversion) in
said Councils, and the Representatives of the earliest and most authentic records of
the people to be summoned as aforesaid, the human race that it is recognized by to make, constitute, and ordain laws, the codes of the most polished nations of statutes, and ordinances, for the public antiquity--that under the light of Chris
peace, welfare, and government of our tianity itself, the possession of persons so said colonies, and of the people and inacquired, has been, in every civilized habitants thereof, as far as may be agreecountry, invested with the character of able to the laws of England, and under property, and secured as such by all the such regulations and restrictions as are protections of law; solemn treaties have used in the other colonies.' been framed, and national monopolies “ These words clearly give them a jueagerly sought, to facilitate and extend risdiction, but limit it to matters of interthe commerce in this asserted property ; nal regulation. The consent of the GoAND ALL THIS, WITH ALL THE SANCTIONS vernors is necessary, to give the acts of OF LAW, PUBLIC AND MUNICIPAL.”
the Councils and Assemblies the force of Leaving these passages to produce law; and as a farther check upon their the effects which we are sure they can- proceedings, copies of all their acts are
• This excellent man has died since these words were written.- January 15.
+ When Mr Marryat is quoted in this paper, the references are to one or other of his pamphlets“ Thoughts, &c." “ More thoughts, &c." * More thoughts still, &c." Published in 1816 and 1817.
sent home, for the consideration of the forbearance, they are for ever barred, unKing in Council, and if not allowed with- der any circumstances, from inquiring in a certain period, become null and void., upon what principle, consistent with the So that the acts of the Colonial Legisla- British Constitution, they can be called tures receive the double sanction of his upon to surrender the privilege they have Majesty's Government; first in the con- so long enjoyed, of legislating for themsent of the King's representative, acting selves; and submit, in future, to laws under their instructions abroad; and then enacted by a Parliament in which they in the approbation of the Ministers for have no representatives? the time being, at home; a circumstance “ The British empire consists of difwhich might have exempted them from ferent component parts, under one comsome of the obloquy with which they are mon head. Under such a Constitution, mentioned by the Committee of the Af- nothing but the cold dead uniformity of rican Institution.
servitude, could prevent the subordinate “ Most of the instances stated in the parts from possessing local privileges ; Reports, of laws passed at home, inter- and it may occasionally be very difficult fering with the rights of the Colonial to draw the precise line, between those Legislatures, appear, when examined, to privileges and the supreme common aube either acts made to regulate the ex- thority. Such is the case, with the right ternal trade and navigation of the colo- of the mother country to pass laws, afnies, (which the Report admits, have fecting the internal regulation of her cocertainly been the purposes which have lonies; it is one of extreme theoretical most commonly invited the exercise of delicacy and great practical danger ; it the jurisdiction in question ;'*) or laws has been the subject of contest twice, passed, either at the request, or for the within the memory of the present genebenefit, of those interested in the colo. ration, and the result has not been such nies; to confirm and extend the opera- as should dispose us lightly to hazard a tion of their acts, to give validity to their third experiment. In the instance of securities, and to legalize their loans, at America, it terminated in the indepena higher rate of interest than is allowed dence of that great mass of British coin Great Britain.
lonies; and in the instance of Ireland, in “The right of regulating external trade a series of concession after concession on and navigation, was originally reserved by the part of Great Britain, till the questhe parent Legislature, and has uniformly tion was at length happily set at rest by been exercised, by naval and custom-house the Act of Union, which incorporated officers appointed for that purpose ; (an the Legislature of Ireland into the Imexception to the general rule, which may perial Legislature of the United Kingbe said to prove the rule itself;) but the dom. only right of iuternal legislation, that “ Great Britain, whatever general ever became a question between Great claims she may have asserted, has never Britain and her colonies, the great right yet attempted to enforce the exercise of to which all others are subordinate, the this right upon her West India colonies. right of taxation, was solemnly conceded The Abolition of the Slave Trade, was to them by the 18th of George IlI., with only an act of external limitation and exthe exception of only such duties, as it clusion; and with whatever pertinacity might be expedient to impose for the re- some individuals may be disposed to gulation of commerce ; the produce of maintain the right of internal control, which, was to be applied to the use of none would probably recommend the exthe colony in which they should be levi- pediency of its exercise, except as a ed.
dernier resort, in case of some urgent ne“ Admitting, however, as the fact is, cessity, some flagrant abuse, obstinately that the mother country has occasionally persisted in by the Colonial Legislature, interfered in the internal regulations of in despite of every admonition on the the colonies; does it follow, that because part of the mother country. If any there they made no remonstrances in cases of be, who would wantonly and uselessly trifling importance, they are precluded involve Great Britain and her colonies in from making a stand, when their proper- the agitation of this question, they must ty and even their existence are at hazard ? be actuated by the most intolerant spirit or that, having once acquiesced in the of tyranny and oppression; and can only exercise of this right, whether from ne- hazard such a step, on the presumption gligence, or a spirit of conciliation and that the West India colonies are too
* Reasons for Registry, p. 98.