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CHAPTER VIII.

Continuance of Irish Insurrection Act.--Mr. Wilberforce's Motion for an

Address to the Prince Regent relative to the Foreign Slave Trade. - Parliament closes.- Prince Regent's Speech.

IRISH INSURRECTION ACT. or petit juries ; and to sentence

persons guilty of no greater crime N June 13th the order of the than being absent from their

day being on the subject of homes after sunset, to be transgoing into a committee on the ported for seven years. But the bill for continuing the Irish In- right hon. gentleman, in palliasurrection Act, Sir Henry Parnell tion of his case, says, “ the law is rose to move that it should be re- not general; the House may deferred to a committee for this day pend upon the moderation of the se'nnight, in place of this evening, magistrates in requiring its enfor the purpose of the appoint- forcement, and upon the forbearment of a committee to inquire ance of government." But the whether there existed any neces- occurrence in the county of Louth sity for such a measure. The fully proved the disposition of the chief secretary for Ireland had magistrates; for they were led to laid before the House, in the last apply to government in conseand present session, certain docil- quence of a single outrage, which, ments referring to disturbances though not of great enormity, had in Ireland, the latter of which the effect of producing a commentioned outrages which had pliance with their wishes. The occurred in the county of Louth. continuance of the Insurrection It was upon the last of these do- Act appeared to the hon. member cuments that the right hon. gen. particularly objectionable, because tleman had called upon the House it seemed to be one intended to to continue these most severe complete the new system for the and unconstitutional measures ; future government of Ireland. but it was incumbent upon the Though we were now in a state House to exercise its inquisito- of peace with all the world, the rial powers, and to examine whe right hon. gentleman had prother the disturbed state of only ceeded just as if we were in the four baronies in one county of midst of a war. He had first obIreland was a sufficiently strong tained an arms bill; he had then case for such an expedient. The made his own particular law, the law was one of uncommon seve. peace act, stronger than before; rity : it went to create six new and he now aims at the continu. transportable offences; to enable ance of the Insurrection Act. the magistrates at sessions to pro- The hon. baronet would not go ceed to trial without either grand so far as to say, that the facts

produced

produced showed that the Insur- be exercised on its responsibility rection bill was not necessary; when the emergency arose. The but they certainly proved the pro- hon. baronet proposed that the priety of making some inquiry bill should be suspended till farbefore the measure was adopted. ther inquiry should be made by a If a committee were appointed, committee. For his own part he he should himself be prepared to saw no reason for the appointpoint out some means for strength- ment of such a committee. If ening the civil power. He con- there was a measure brought cluded by moving, “ that the bill before Parliament on which it be committed this day se'nnight.” was competent to decide, without

Mr. V. Fitzgerald said he could the delay of a committee, it was see no good ground for even a the present. There never caine day's delay. The act had been before Parliament a case in which passed by several successive par- government had more clearly liaments, and no gentleman could offered the grounds on which it be supposed ignorant of its con- called for permission to act upon tents; and being now near its its responsibility, and on which expiration, it was thought neces. the House had received better sary to revive it, lest the govern- means of judging whether it ment of Ireland should be di. ought to be granted. The hon. vested of its present powers. The baronet had said that the Insurgovernment proclamation applied rection Act was an evil, in which only to Louth, but the outrage he (Mr. Peel) fully concurred; was to be considered as coupled but unhappily there was now only with the general state of the coun- a choice of evils ; and was it bet. try. Every day produced fresh ter to give to government the outrages; and at length there was power of preserving tranquillity an unanimous request from the even by a severe measure, or to magistrates, and from a county allow the country to be converted meeting, after which the procla.. into a scene of confusion by withmation was issued.

holding the present act ? Mr. Peel said, that he was led Sir W. Burroughs entered into to attend to the county of Louth an examination of the several more particularly, because the clauses of the act, and commented disturbances which called for its in strong terms on its severity. exercise there, were more recently He particularly dwelt upon the laid before the House, and the great disproportion between the atrocities with which they were numbers apprehended and the accompanied had made the deep- numbers convicted in the several est impression on the country. counties; and argued, that as it His argument was, that though was to be presumed that the petty the country was generally tran- sessions had done their duty, quil, yet if there was one part of therefore all those acquitted had it so disturbed that the laws could been justly acquitted, and had not be executed in their usual consequently been wrongfully arcourse, it was necessary to arm rested. the government with this act, to After some further discussions,

Sir Sir H. Parnell's amendment was purposes fixed upon the very same put and negatived. The House spot; and in consequence, great then resolved itself into a com- numbers of natives of Spain, or inittee, when Sir W. Burroughs others who sailed under the Spaproposed tu limit the duration of nish flag, now frequented that the bill to six weeks after the quarter. In places where schools meeting of the next session of had been established, and efforts Parliament, which was nega- had been made to induce the tived, and the duration was fixed chieftains to supply their wants at one year.

by peaceful industry and legitiIt does not appear that any mate commerce, the Spaniards further proceedings took place now came to persuade them to during the passage of this bill return to their old habits by sellthrough either of the Houses. ing their subjects, or making war

upon their neighbours. Ships are FOREIGN SLAVE TRADE.

crowded beyond all precedent. As On July 9th, Mr. Wilberforce the persons engaged in this illicit rose to bring forward a motion, traffic were apprehensive of being the object of which was to give taken, they constructed vessels weight to the executive power in not calculated for stowage, but its negotiations with foreign coun- for quick sailing, whence the mitries. He lamented to say, that series of these unKappy beings among those powers which had were increased. In an instance declared their intention of abo- it had been stated, that of 540 lishing the Slave Trade, there negroes embarked, 340 had died. were no appearances of being dis- Of the slaves procured by the posed to carry the purpose into Spaniards, the greater part were effect; and that the subjects of sent to the Havannah. By a paper some of the powers were even which had been obtained by the engaged in carrying on this odious Cortes, it appeared that there had traffic. He was sorry to be been imported into that colony in obliged to state, that under the eleven years, from 1799 to 1811, flag of America this trade was in about 110,000, or 10,000 per some measure practised ; that at year; and in the three last years Goree and Senegal it was vigo- the importation was much greater. rously pursued ; that a charge had The Spanish and Portuguese flags been brought in one instance formed also a cover for the illicit against Holland; but that the traders of other nations. It had great evil in which all others been decided by high authority to sunk into insignificance, was the be law, that though Portuguese trade now carried on for slaves by vessels might be found trading Portugal and Spain. The latter for slaves in parts which they power seemed as if they alınost had renounced the right to trade intended to ridicule our efforts for to, they could not be made a the amelioration of the state of prize unless they had intruded Africa. When we had particu- upon our possessions. The ships larly chosen a part of the coast of Spain, when questioned, often for our efforts in introducing ci- defended themselves, or antici. vilization, the Spaniards for their pated attack by aggression. They

had,

had, indeed, committed acts of declaration which was promulpiracy of the most flagrant kind. gated by the plenipotentiaries of They had driven away the native all the principal powers of Eumerchants from the coast, to keep rope, assembled in their general it clear for their horrible traffic. congress; a declaration which well

After some further observations, became the just and powerful soMr. Wilberforce concluded with vereigns in whose names it was moving, “That an huinble address issued; proclaiming to their subbe presented to his Royal High- jects and to the world, their delibe. ness the Prince Regent, most rate conviction, that “the African humbly to represent to his Royal slave trade is repugnant to the Highness, that, in bringing to a principles of humanity and of close the other business of this universal morality;" and adding session, a great and important to that avowal, the gracious and duty stills remains to be perform, solemn assurance of their earnest ed by Parliament, that of again desire " to put an end to a scourge submitting to his Royal Highness, which has so long desolated Afriin the most dutiful but urgent ca, degraded Europe, and afflicted terms, the expression of our con- humanity : tinued and unceasing solicitude “That we must indecd deeply for the universal and final aboli- regret, that practices acknowtion of the African slave trade: ledged to be of such a character

" That we are grateful for the should, even for an hour, be conefforts already made, and for the tinued, and even tolerated under progress which we have had the the sanction of any civilized and happiness to witness, in the Christian government; but that achievement of this great work: it is impossible for us to doubt of That we rejoice that, in all his that ultimate determination by Majesty's dominions, this wicked- which these crimes and miseries ness is now for ever proscribed, will finally be terminated : this and that our laws have stigmatiz- engagement has been deliberately ed it by severe and ignominious taken, and publicly and unequipunishment:

vocally announced, and its per“That we have seen, with un- formance is imperiously required speakable satisfaction, that so by every motive of interest, and many of the other nations, under of honour, of humanity, and of whose flag this criminal traffic justice : had formerly been protected, had “ That we beg leave, however, now joined in the same prohibi- with all humility, to represent to tion, and have contracted with his his Royal Highness, that the acMajesty, and with each other, the tual attainment of this great obobligation of persevering in it, as ject can alone discharge our counin a duty from which they never try from the obligation of pursucan be released: and that our ing it with unremitted attention confident expectations of the uni- and with daily increasing earnestversal adoption of that prohibition ness; and that we cannot disguise have been greatly contirmed and from ourselves the painful cerstrengthened by that memorable tainty, that the intermediate sus

pense

pense and delay not only prolong, has led, by manifest and necessary but greatly augment, the evil consequence, to a system of armwhich we are thus labouring to ed defiance and outrage, a system remedy :

utterly destructive of all peaceful “ That it appears to us but too commerce, insulting to legitimate notorious, that these crimes, hi- authority, and, in its effects and therto partially checked by the pro- consequences, little, if at all, short hibition of so many just govern- of open piracy: that this system ments, and by the abhorrence of also impedes, or rather it altoall good men, are now again re- gether frustrates, the just and newed, and are carried on with benevolent endeavours of those fresh, and continually increasing puwers, who are labouring to in. activity; that many of the sub- troduce among the natives of jects of those powers which have Africa the arts, and habits of civiconcurred in the abolition, are lized life ; is productive of perpefound, nevertheless, still to pur- tual contest and irritation, leading sue the some nefarious course; not unfrequently to open violence that the stipulations by which between his Majesty's ships and other governments have consented subjects, and those of the soveto put limits to this evil, stipula- reigns in amity and alliance with tions purchased by this country at this country; and continually enthe price of large sacrifices, are dangers even those relations, the constantly, and almost openly maintenance of which is of the disregarded; while the protection utmost moment to their interests of the only remaining tlag under and to ours, as well as to the gewhich this wickedness can now neral repose and tranquillity of be carried on without limit or re- Europe : straint, and the intervention of “ To represent to his Royal the only nation to which its con- Highness, that being deeply imtinuance is indiscriminately per pressed with the magnitude of all mitted, are used, not merely to these considerations, we earnestly protect this horrible traffic in the entreat his Royal Highness, that extent to which that people for he will be pleased to pursue with merly pursued it, but as a sanc. unremitted activity, those negotition to its indefinite increase in ations into which he has already their hands, and as a cover for entered on this most momentous the breach of the laws by which subject; that he will establish for all other civilized communities this purpose the most effective have restrained their subjects from concert with those sovereigns, embarking in it:

whose just and benevolent princi“ That, in humbly submitting ples respecting it, have already these painful circumstances to the been announced to the world in humane and enlightened consider concurrence with his own; and ation of his Roval Highness, we that he will leave no effort untried are sure it cannot be requisite to to bring the present evils to a dwell upon the other and great speedy and immediate terminaevils which they necessarily in- tion, and thereby to prevent the volve : that this state of things future and still greater mischiefs

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