wished to call the attention of their Lordships to certain papers connected with the state of the West-India colonies which had been laid on their Lordships' table. They were documents of great importance, and, in one respect, extremely satisfactory, since they tended to prove the increasing prosperity of the West-India colonies. Exaggerations and misrepresentations of the effects produced by the Emancipation Bill had gone forth, which ought to be corrected. When it was said that the Bill had produced no good effects, these documents refuted the statement, and would prove directly the reverse. He had every reason to believe that the exportation of supplies to the West-India colonies had greatly increased, instead of being diminished, since the law was passed. If those supplies were worse now in their fabric than formerly, that would in some degree militate against his argument. But the fact was, that the supply had increased, and the goodness of the articles had not been diminished. It was evident, therefore, that much benefit must have been derived by those people on emerging from a state of slavery to one of freedom, because they were the consumers of all the articles sent out from this country, for which they paid out of the earnings of their industry. It appeared on the face of the papers that there had been a general increase in the supplies sent out to the West-Indies during the six last years, from 1830 to 1836, particularly in the latter year. The average value of supplies sent out for three years before the passing of the Emancipation Bill was 2,800,000l., while in the three years after the passing of that measure it 1424 amounted to 3,600,000l., which was paid for out of the wages of these poor people. He was anxious that the sufferings which the slaves had been compelled to endure should be obliterated as soon as possible, and he knew that the complaint of their having been ill-treated by some individuals in the West-Indies and the Mauritius was not unfounded. But, when persons asserted that the act had been of no use—that it had wholly failed in its object, he would directly state that such was not the fact. Every facility had, he believed, been given by Government to carry the Act into effect. Having said thus much of our own Government, he might be allowed, in justice to another party whose conduct had been much condemned, to make a few observations. He alluded to the course pursued by certain citizens of the United States. No man more deeply lamented than he did the bad spirit which prevailed on this subject in a considerable portion of the American Union. No man could wish, or hope, or expect, more confidently than he did, that many years would not elapse before they should cease to have any cause of complaint against the citizens of the United States, or any portion of them, in this respect. They ought not, however, to do the citizens of the United States so much injustice as to compare their situation to the situation of the people of this country in relation to the question of negro slavery. Unthinking individuals might say, "Oh! see how badly the Americans have acted, as compared with the people of England! The English have emancipated their slaves, but the Americans will not listen to such a proposition." Now, there was not a shadow of similitude between the two cases. Did the people of England live among slaves? were they in constant communication with those unhappy people? No. But the case was different in America There the master and the slave, the oppressor and the oppressed, constantly met together. Here the people were 3,000 miles distant from scenes of slavery. Hence the great difference of feeling; and when the Legislatures of Barbadoes and of the other West-India Islands united in bringing in bills for the full emancipation of the slaves, it would be time enough for them to look down from the eminence of their lofty philanthropy, and to insult the citizens of the United States for not having followed their example.
§ Lord Glenelg
said, it was clear from the 1425 documents laid on their Lordships' table, that a great improvement had taken place in the comforts of the negroes. He was particularly happy to have the authority of his noble and learned Friend for saying that the course which Government had pursued had greatly tended to produce this progressive state of amelioration. He admitted, as his noble Friend had admitted, that abuses, to a certain degree, still continued. But he would ask any reasonable man, when a system like that which was overthrown had so long prevailed, whether it were possible for the feelings of human nature to be at once expelled—whether it were possible in a moment to remove long-cherished prejudices? When he said this, he did not stand up there in defence of those prejudices; all he meant to say was, that, though this country, in passing the Emancipation Act, had achieved a great object, still it could not be supposed that it would remove in a moment all those prejudices which had been engendered under the old system. His noble and learned Friend had said, "You must not, with reference to this subject, judge of America by the conduct of this country, for the people here are not, as they are in certain parts of America, surrounded day and night by slaves." Now, he thought that he was bound in some degree to claim the benefit of that observation for the benefit of the West-India planters. He lamented that in some places a desire to delay the carrying the Act into effect had been manifested in the West Indies; but he was of opinion that before they condemned the planters, they ought to consider the peculiar situation in which they were placed.
said, that what he stated with reference to America had no relation whatever to the situation of the legislatures of the West-India Islands. In Antigua and Bermuda, the slaves were emancipated with perfect safety and signal success. Why should not Barbadoes and Jamaica follow the example? If they did not, for what purpose was 20,000,000l. of money granted to them? If the Americans had received this premium, he would not call it a bribe—if they had entered into a compact, if they had made a bargain, if they had received and pocketed this money, and if afterwards they had refused to do that which they had agreed to do, and which those who paid them the money were entitled to expect that they would do, in that case, but not otherwise, his noble Friend would have the most per- 1426 fect right to claim the benefit of his observation for the West-India legislatures. He might then say, that the cases were parallel—that the same arguments applied to both parties, and that the same measure of justice should be meted out to the West Indians which he had meted out to the citizens of America. But the cases were not at all analogous.
§ Lord Redesdale
believed, with the noble and learned Lord, that the unconditional emancipation of the slaves in Antigua and Bermuda had been attended with beneficial effects. But he must observe that the situation of those islands was very different from that of many of the West-India colonies. Civilisation was in a more advanced state there than it was in many other of the islands. Nothing, he conceived, could be more dangerous than to stir up ill-feeling amongst those who were interested in this question, and he trusted that whenever the noble and learned Lord brought it forward he would not introduce matter which was likely to retard the object he had in view.
could see no reason why one system should be pursued in Antigua and another in Jamaica. Nothing could be adduced to justify the continuance of the cruelties of which he complained. Did the local legislature seem inclined to put an end to them? In answer to that he would read, in addition to what he had laid before their Lordships on a former night, another extract from an address delivered by his noble Friend, the Marquess of Sligo, to the House of Assembly, in Jamaica. His Lordship said:—"The whipping of female slaves is indefensible; and I called upon you for enactments to put an end to a system which was contrary to humanity and repugnant to law; but so far from passing an act to prevent such cruelty, you have not, in any way, even expressed your disapprobation of it." So much for the desire of the local legislatures to act up to the expressed wishes of Parliament.
§ Conversation dropped.