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Government which, although perfectly determined not to relinquish the object until it was finally accomplished, would not the less scrupulously observe the attentions due to every other independent Power. "He then read his projêt, couched in the following terms;—

"In order to enable the Powers to realize, more effectually and completely, by amicable negotiations, their benevolent intentions, with respect to the final abolition of the trade in Negroes, in the manner set forth in their common Declaration, and to establish amongst them, and with other Governments, a concert, calculated to prevent, on one hand, an illegal traffic in slaves upon the coast of Africa, and, on the other hand, to prevent any infraction of the rights of independent States, which might be attempted by the armed vessels of other Powers, it is proposed to authorise the Ministers of the Courts now assembled, and of other Powers who may wish to concur in these measures, who shall be accredited at London and Paris to treat conjointly on the important objects herein-before mentioned, and to enjoin them to prepare, at the end of each year, for the information of their respective Courts, a general report on the state of the trade in African Negroes, according to the most recent information, and on the progress of the diminution or of the abolition of that trade." (P. 85, 86.)

This unequivocal proof of the sincerity of our Plenipotentiary roused the Chevalier de Labrador, who, as our readers must long ago have perceived, objected but little to the consecration, upon paper, of as many high and fine principles as were agreeable to the other powers, but whose endeavours were studiously to evade following any of them out into action. He now denied the power of congress to enter at all into the question of the trade of Negroes; to regulate the legislation of nations, or to decide upon questions of political morality. He declared that it was the effect of pure condescension on the part of the powers possessing colonies, that they occupied themselves at all about the slave trade; that his court would listen to no conference at London, Paris, or else where, to continue discussions on the slave trade; since his Catholic Majesty would never grant to one or to several powers the right of exercising over his subjects any act of superintendance under the pretext of infraction of what has been settled. It is scarcely necessary to make any further observation on these peevish arguments of the Spanish plenipotentiary, than merely to remark, that no interference with Spanish subjects was ever projected. The powers assembled had no object in view, but to declare their unaltered resolution to promote the abolition of the slave trade by every possible means, thinking it an enormous public crime; and that they would conduct, themselves differently with respect to their own commercial intercourse towards those powers who persisted in the traffic, and those who agreed with them as to the necessity of its extinction. And this resolution they surely had an undoubted right to execute.oɔ in m it 99 42

M. de Talleyrand admitted the justice and propriety of Lord Castlereagh's proposition, and promised to support it with his court. Count Palmella took it ad referendum, and all the other ministers gave it their unqualified assent. Encouraged by these of results Lord Castlereagh proceeded to open the boldest, but at the same time (as we presume to think) the most just and efficient the measures yet proposed for giving the recusant nations an interest in abolishing their slave trade, and for restraining its extent and influence in case they still persevered in carrying it on. We must give this proposal in bis Lordship's own words.

"Lord Castlereagh then proceded to a second proposal, respecting the measures to be adopted in case one or other of the Powers should retard the definitive abolition beyond the period which motives of real necessity could justify. Before making it known, he observed, that although he would fain believe that the case anticipated in this proposal would not arise, it nevertheless appeared to him to be just and prudent to concert some eventual means either of preventing it or of weakening its bad effects, and to protect from any future chances the success of a cause so interesting in its nature, in favour of which England had so decidedly declared herself, and which so many great Powers had now taken under their protection: that the measure he was about to propose as a last resource against the gratuitous prolongation of a commerce, upon the character of which the whole world had but one opinion, rested upon the exercise of an incontestable right, and was enjoined by a moral obligation inseparable from the principle solemnly avowed by all the Powers; that he also trusted that he had framed his proposal in the most conciliatory manner and in the most measured terms possible.

"After these introductory observations, Lord Castlereagh read the following proposal: In closing the present deliberations, as to the means of totally suppressing the trade in Negroes, the Powers this day assembled with that view, are invited to pronounce (independently of their general declaration) their full and entire concurrence in the additional Article concluded at Paris between Great Britain and France, as pointing out, in their opinion, the most distant period that may be reasonably required or allowed for the ulterior duration of the Treaty; and to declare, that at the same time that the most scrupulous respect for the rights of other independent States is admitted, and the hope of coming to an amicable understanding with them upon this important part of the question is cherished, the Powers, in case their expectations should fail, consider they have a moral obligation to fulfil; viz. that of not permitting the consumption of colonial produce within their dominions to become the means of encouraging and prolonging gratuitously so pernicious a traffic; to declare besides, that in point of moral obligation they reserve to themselves, in case the Slave Trade should be continued by any other State beyond the period justified by real necessity, to adopt proper measures to obtain the said colonial produce, either from the colonies of Powers who do not tolerate the gratuitous


prolongation of this traffic, or else from those vast regions of the globe which supply the same produce by the labour of their own inhabitants." (P. 87, 88.)

The Plenipotentiaries of Spain and Portugal were exceedingly outraged at this proposition, and declared it to imply an intention of forcing the recusant powers to submit themselves to the system of the abolitionists. They further declared, that were such a measure adopted by any power whatever, their sovereigns, without disputing with such power the right of acting according to its own principles, would have recourse to just reprisals, by enacting pro hibitory laws against the most useful branch of the commerce of the country in question. Lord Castlereagh justly replied, that, even to produce the greatest good, he would never force an inde pendent power in the sense used by the plenipotentiary of Portugal. But that if governments had frequently exercised their right of excluding foreign merchandise, simply from municipal considerations, without having had any hostile intention imputed to them, surely they had a right to adopt the same means with respect to any nation that should run counter to the general wish of all other nations, upon a fundamental principle of public morals involving the best interests of humanity. The other plenipo tentiaries expressed their assent more or less decisively to the proposal and thus the conference ended.

The last conference was occupied principally in mutual civili ties between the several ministers, mutual congratulations upon the progress made, and hopes of further success in future. Prince Metternich observed, that although the continental powers had no direct or pecuniary interest in the question, as they possessed no colonies, he nevertheless thought, that their interference in mediating between those powers who did possess them, but widely, differed in opinion on the subjects under discussion, had not been useless. He further expressed the readiness of the continental cabinets to employ their good offices in settling such differences. as might arise in the future discussions at London and Paris; and to do away the obstacles which might oppose themselves to the final success of this cause. We shall close our extracts with the general declaration, one of the principal results of these discus sions, offering the most encouraging prospect, and the best omen of ultimate success.


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The Plenipotentiaries of the Powers who signed the treaty of Paris, the 30th May, 1814, assembled in Congress,

Having taken into consideration; that the traffic known under the name of the African Slave Trade, has been regarded, by just and en lightened men of all ages, as repugnant to the principles of humanity.

and of universal morality; that the particular circumstances to which this traffic owes its origin, and the difficulty of abruptly interrupting its, progress, have to a certain degree lessened the odium of continuing it; but that at last the public voice in all civilized countries has demanded that it should be suppressed as soon as possible; that since the character and the details of this traffic have been better known, and the. evils of every sort which accompanied it completely unveiled, several European Governments have resolved to suppress it, and that successively all Powers possessing colonies in different parts of the world have acknowledged, either by legislative Acts or by Treaties and other formal Engagements, the obligation and necessity of abolishing it; that by a separate article of the last Treaty of Paris, Great Britain and France engaged to unite their efforts at the Congress at Vienna, to engage all the Powers of Christendom to pronounce the universal and definitive abolition of the Slave Trade: that the Plenipotentiaries assembled at this Congress cannot better honour their mission, fulfil their duty, and manifest the principles which guide their august Sovereigns, than by labouring to realize this engagement, and by proclaiming in the name of their Sovereigns the desire to put an end to a scourge which has so long desolated Africa, degraded Europe, and afflicted humanity :

"The said Plenipotentiaries have agreed to open their deliberations> as to the means of accomplishing so, salutary an object, by a solemn Declaration of the principles which have guided them in this work.

"Fully authorised to such an Act by the unanimous adherence of their respective Courts to the principle announced in the said separate article of the Treaty of Paris, they in consequence declare in the face of Europe, that, looking upon the universal abolition of the Slave Trade as a measure particularly worthy of their attention, conformable to the spirit of the age, and to the generous principles of their august Sovereigns, they are animated with a sincere desire to concur, by every means in their power, in the most prompt and effectual execution of this measure, and to act in the employment of those means with all the zeal and all the perseverance which so great and good a cause merits.


"Too well informed of the sentiments of their Sovereigns not to foresee, that, however honourable may be their object, they would not pursue it without a just regard to the interests, the habits, and, even the prejudices of their subjects; the said plenipotentiaries at the same time acknowledge, that this general Declaration should not prejudge the period which each particular Power should look upon as the most expedient for the definitive abolition of the Traffic in Slaves. Consequently the determination of the period when this traffic ought universally to cease, will be an object of negotiation between the different Powers; it being, however, well understood, that no means proper to insure and accelerate its progress should be neglected-and that the reciprocal engagement contracted by the present Declaration. between the Sovereigns who have taken part in it, should not be considered as fulfilled until the moment when complete success shall have. crowned their united efforts.

"In making this Declaration known to Europe, and to all the civilized Nations of the earth, the said Plenipotentiaries flatter themselves they shall engage all other Governments, and particularly those who, in abolishing the Traffic in Slaves, have already manifested the same sentiments, to support them with their suffrage in a cause, of which the final triumph will be one of the greatest monuments of the age which undertook it, and which shall have gloriously carried it into complete effect.

"Vienna, February 8, 1815."

(P. 93, 94.)


Thus ended these important negotiations, in which we do not hesitate to affirm, that the character of our government, as well as of our country, displayed itself in an attitude of moral grandeur unexampled in the history of the world. If the success of our minister was not equal to his ability, and to the justice of his cause, it cannot be ascribed to any want of diligence, zeal, or inge nuity on his part. Upon a recapitulation of the preceding article, we have, first, intelligible hints from the British nation to their vernment, that they were in earnest on this great question; that they were resolved to repel from their own shoulders the burden of guilt, and the heavy stigma of participation or compromise concerning an acknowledged crime. In deference to this expression of public opinion, we find the government of the country ardently prosecuting preliminary negotiations with those powers, who were at all likely to throw difficulties in the way of the subsequent discussions at Congress. Further we have a proof of the ability and diligence with which the minds of the persons assembled at Congress were favourably disposed towards the abolition before the conferences were opened. We see the influence acquired by Britain upon grounds interesting to the. continental powers, converted into a means of procuring their co-operation on a subject for which, not possessing colonies, they must, politically speaking, have felt some indifference. And we do justice to the ingenuity by which a question, hitherto considered in politics as strictly a colonial question, was brought upon incontrovertible principles of fairness and justice, before the tribunal of assembled Europe. We admire the skill with which the general questions, where universal consent was anticipitated, were first brought forward; and we highly commend the honesty with which the two great securities for perseverance in the cause, viz. the general refusal to purchase colonial pro duce of the recusant nations, and the appointment of the standing commissions to watch over the progress of the abolition, were pressed to a successful issue..

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Although the temporary irruption of Buonaparte has retarded and confounded all other political arrangements, we trust in Providence, that it has rather promoted than impeded the cause

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