The History of the Rise, Progress and Accomplishment of the Abolition of the African Slave Trade by the British Parliament (1808), Volume I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 384 pages of information about The History of the Rise, Progress and Accomplishment of the Abolition of the African Slave Trade by the British Parliament (1808), Volume I.
relief, as it were, to their feelings by utterance; but by so doing they were prevented, many of them, from being heard.  They who were heard spoke with peculiar energy, as if warmed in an extraordinary manner by the subject.  There was an apparent enthusiasm in behalf of the injured Africans.  It was supposed by some, that there was a moment, in which, if the Chancellor of the Exchequer had moved for an immediate abolition of the Trade, he would have carried it that night; and both he and others, who professed an attachment to the cause, were censured for not having taken a due advantage of the disposition which was so apparent.  But independently of the inconsistency of doing this on the part of the ministry, while the privy council were in the midst of their inquiries, and of the improbability that the other branches of the legislature would have concurred in so hasty a measure; What good would have accrued to the cause, if the abolition had been then carried?  Those concerned in the cruel system would never have rested quietly under the stigma under which they then laboured.  They would have urged, that they had been condemned unheard.  The merchants would have said, that they had had no notice of such an event, that they might prepare a way for their vessels in other trades.  The planters would have said, that they had had no time allowed them to provide such supplies from Africa as might enable them to keep up their respective stocks.  They would, both of them, have called aloud for immediate indemnification.  They would have decried the policy of the measure of the abolition;—­and where had it been proved?  They would have demanded a reverse of it; and might they not, in cooler moments, have succeeded?  Whereas, by entering into a patient discussion of the merits of the question; by bringing evidence upon it; by reasoning upon that evidence night after night, and year after year, land thus by disputing the ground inch as it were by inch, the Abolition of the Slave-trade stands upon a rock, upon which it never can be shaken.  Many of those who were concerned in the cruel system have now given up their prejudices, because they became convinced in the contest.  A stigma too has been fixed upon it, which can never be erased:  and in a large record, in which the cruelty and injustice of it have been recognised in indelible characters, its impolicy also has been eternally enrolled.

CHAPTER XXIII.

Continuation to the middle of July—­Anxiety of Sir William Dolben to lessen the horrors of the Middle Passage till the great question should be discussed—­brings in a bill for that purpose—­debate upon it—­Evidence examined against it—­its inconsistency and falsehoods—­further debate upon it—­Bill passed, and carried to the Lords—­vexatious delays and opposition there—­carried backwards and forwards to both houses—­at length finally passed—­Proceedings of the commitee in the interim—­effects of them.—­End of the first volume.

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The History of the Rise, Progress and Accomplishment of the Abolition of the African Slave Trade by the British Parliament (1808), Volume I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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